Game 2 Rout, Three Days Off Should Shift Momentum to Knicks | Zagsblog
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Thursday / April 22.
  • Game 2 Rout, Three Days Off Should Shift Momentum to Knicks

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    NEW YORK — The Knicks’ Game 2 rout, combined with a much-needed three-day rest, should give them the momentum heading into Game 3 in Indiana.

    Many Major League Baseball teams will play three, or even four, games between the end of Game 2 Tuesday night and the beginning of Game 3 Saturday night.

    And for a banged-up team like the Knicks, the rest could not come at a better time.

    Consider that Carmelo Anthony (shoulder), Tyson Chandler (neck), Raymond Felton (ankle), Steve Novak (back) and Amar’e Stoudemire (knee) are all hurt and will now have nearly four full days off before the start of Game 3.

    “The more rest the better,” Anthony said in his on-court interview after he scored 22 of his game-high 32 points in the second half as the Knicks routed the Pacers, 105-79, in Game 2 to even the series at 1-1. 

    “At this point it’s kind of hard to get some rest, so I just treat [the shoulder] the way I’ve been treating it as of late. See what happens. But I could use these next couple of days, I’ll tell you that.”

    The Knicks probably won’t utilize Stoudemire all that much in Game 3, especially considering how rusty and winded he appeared during a three-on-three workout on Tuesday. But he’ll get back at it on Wednesday and will then play five-on-five Friday, and if there are no setbacks he’ll suit up Saturday.

    If nothing else, Stoudemire — who hasn’t played since March 7 — can offer another big body and a low-post scorer against this big Pacers team. And considering how little production they are getting from Chandler, Stoudemire may actually be a positive going forward.

    “I think these days are going to be great for us,” said Chandler, who finished with eight points and four rebounds.

    “We need Amar’e to get his timing and the only way he can do that is if …he gets into a five-on-five setting,” Chandler said.

    After losing Game 1, the Knicks grabbed the momentum back thanks to a vicious putback dunk by Iman Shumpert in the first half off a missed 3-pointer by Chris Copeland and then a 30-2 game-changing run in the second half.

    “Shump’s dunk was unbelievable, incredible,” Anthony said. “Got us going, got the crowd going. Our energy picked up after that.”

    The Knicks, who faced the prospect of going down 0-2 at home, then stormed back from 64-62 down with a 30-2 run that changed the game. Anthony scored 16 in the spurt and Pablo Prigioni scored five straight to start the fourth.

    “Absolutely, you can’t go down 0-2,” Chandler said. “You can”t give away two home games.

    “It’s digging yourself in a hole that’s almost impossible to get out of, so we had to play with a sense of urgency. Now the series is split obviously 1-1 with us going to back to Indiana and we gotta find a way to get one down there.”

    The Knicks now head to hostile territory, but they have the momentum of knowing they routed Indiana here. And they will get several valuable days to get their team healthy.

    If they can at least split the two games in Indiana, they would return to the Garden for a Game 5 on May 16 — nine days from now.

    “Nobody said it was going to be easy,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.

    “The bottom line is we lost homecourt advantage after losing the first game and the only way to get out of this series is we gotta go get one. So we gotta figure out a game. It would be nice to start on Saturday.”

    And they can thank the NBA for giving them a three-day break.

    **For Video, Notes and Quotes, read my Notebook here.

    Photo: Daily News

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.