Eastern Conference Finals Recap: Game 1

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Well, who saw that coming?  Who expected an offensive explosion from the often anemic Indiana Pacers offense?  I know I didn’t.  The Pacers starting five averaged just shy of 38 minutes each and all scored in double digits (yes, even Roy Hibbert scored in double digits).  This helped lead The Pacers to a 107-96 win Sunday afternoon over The Miami Heat.  History usually dictates that when Dwyane Wade plays well, the Heat win, however, it appears that just Lebron James and Dwyane Wade isn’t enough to beat a Pacers team when firing on all cylinders.  With that being said, let us talk about what The Pacers accomplished in Game 1.

 

The Pacers managed an astounding 42.1% shooting from 3-point range.  Their regular season average from downtown was only 38.2%.  They also only averaged 92.5 points per game during the regular season, so the 107 points they put up in Game 1 was also somewhat of an anomaly.  The entire Pacers roster played well, and they do have the size to counteract The Miami Heat’s smaller, more athletic lineup, however, I don’t foresee The Pacers sustaining this level of offensive efficiency.  I also don’t believe that Chris Bosh will score only 9 points per game and continue to go 0 for the century from downtown (he went 0-5 from 3-point range in Game 1).  The Heat also have a very solid track record when losing the 1st game of a playoff series.  In the 2013 playoffs, they lost the 1st game in 2 out of their 3 series (against The Chicago Bulls and The San Antonio Spurs).  The Heat went on to sweep the rest of The Bulls series and they went on to beat The Spurs as well to capture their 2nd straight NBA Championship.

 

Today, most people will be overreacting to The Miami Heat’s Game 1 loss, but I, as I’m sure you have already figured out, will not be.  As much as I would enjoy The Heat losing in The Eastern Conference Finals, not only for my own personal enjoyment but for the mass hysteria that would cause, I just don’t see it happening.  I believe Lebron James (aka the best player on the planet) will put his team on his shoulders, and on Wednesday morning, everyone will be seated (with arms and legs inside the vehicle) securely BACK on The Miami Heat bandwagon.  You can catch Game 2 of The Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night @ 8:30  P.M. on ESPN.  Can’t wait to watch more basketball until then?  Then tune into TNT tonight @ 9:00 P.M. to catch The Oklahoma City Thunder take on The San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of The Western Conference Finals.  That should be a highly competitive, fun series to watch as well.  Enjoy!

 

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it! 

     

The Good, The Bad, and The Unknown

roy hibbert

Monday night marked the beginning of the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs. Within the first 2 games, there were 2 emphatic statements made. One was better than good, while the other was ehhh for lack of another word, worse than bad. And Tuesday night, the other 2 games will get under way. Let’s start with The Good:

Chris Paul, and his Los Angeles Clippers, marched into Oklahoma City and sent a clear message to Kevin Durant and the Thunder. Chris Paul sent another message that I’m pretty sure his critics heard loud and clear as well. Paul put his Clippers on his back and led them to a decisive 122-105 victory to grab a 1 game to none lead in the series. Paul hit 8 three-pointers, that’s right, EIGHT three-pointers!! Yes, Paul went 8 of 9 from downtown and also added 10 assists to his stat line. He essentially contributed in half of his teams points Monday night. Paul, without a doubt will not continue to drain three’s at such a frenetic pace, however, he should be able to maintain his elite level of play throughout the entire 2nd round. This would get the monkey off his back and would land him in his first Conference Finals of his career. The MVP to be, Kevin Durant, may have something to say about that though, as I expect a bounce back performance in Game 2 from Durant and his trigger happy side-kick Russell Westbrook. By the way, imagine if Robin turned to Batman and said, “You know what Batman, I think we should change the name of this movie to Robin Returns.” Batman would have picked up Robin and put him back in his closet. Durant needs to man up and tell Westbrook to give him the damn ball and get out of his way! Anyone who knows basketball has been saying this for years, but I guess Durant doesn’t want to listen. Now, let’s move on to the bad….THE VERY BAD:

Roy Hibbert, oh poor Roy Roy. The stat line says it all: 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 5 fouls (in 18 Minutes). What in the blazing saddles is going on here?? Roy Hibbert is listed at 7’2″. 0 Rebounds?!?!?! You should get at least one rebound by accident….from the bench….when you’re 7’2″. I, along with the rest of the world do not understand what has happened to Roy Hibbert, but he better figure it out quick or else his Pacers will be watching the Heat steamroll the Wizards rather than having that dubious pleasure themselves. And last but not least, the unknown:

Only time will tell what will happen in the rest of the series’ that have yet to start, but the big conversation of the 2nd round thus far has been the Miami Heat vs. the Brooklyn Nets. A lot of people are jumping on the Brooklyn bandwagon because they swept the regular season series with the Heat this year (4-0). I for one am not buying into that. Yes, winning 4 straight games, no matter how close they were, against the two time defending champions is an outstanding feat, however, this is not the regular season anymore. The Miami Heat rest their players throughout the regular season, and from time to time honestly just don’t try sometimes. Come playoff time, Lebron, Wade, and company are all business, all the time. And frankly, they are just a better team than Brooklyn. The other question is, as a Knicks fan, if you had to root for one of these teams, who do you root for? This is not an easy question to answer, but I would have to root for the Heat. Despite what some delusional Knicks fans think, the Knicks and the Heat don’t have a rivalry anymore. The Knicks and Nets don’t have a rivalry yet either, but fuel will definitely be thrown on the fire if the Nets can somehow dethrone the Heat. Plus, Knicks fans can’t root for a team that employs Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (come on now!).

Stay tuned for my predictions going forward in these NBA Playoffs.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Thank you for reading and leave a comment in the section below.

NBA Playoffs to be Overshadowed No Longer

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                     So far, the 2014 NBA Playoffs have been nothing short of spectacular.  There have been 8 overtime games (including 4 in a row in the Memphis Grizzlies/Oklahoma City Thunder Series), and we still haven’t gotten out of the 1st round.  More importantly, The Los Angeles Clippers and their fans showed up for Game 5 last night in L.A. and showed their support for the team.  The Clippers held off the Golden State Warriors, winning the game 113-103 and now have a 3 games to 2 lead in this best of 7 series.  As I mentioned earlier, The Grizzlies and Thunder did what they do, and played a 4th consecutive overtime game.  The Grizzlies eked out a 100-99 victory over The Thunder to take a 3 games to 2 lead in that series as well.  Another series concluded last night with The Washington Wizards defeating The Chicago Bulls and advancing to their first 2nd round appearance since 2005.  Behind the youth of John Wall and Bradley Beal and the leadership of Nene, the Wizards will look to continue their run through the playoffs against the winner of the Atlanta Hawks/Indiana Pacers series.  Side note: Roy Hibbert, why are you terrible at basketball?  Anyway, outside of the Wizards series and the Miami Heat/Charlotte Bobcats series (that has been over for some time now), every other series has been ultra competitive and every game has been fun to watch.  The biggest surprise of the 1st round has to be The Dallas Mavericks hanging in there with the battled tested San Antonio Spurs.  And even though there have been 8 overtime games, I personally believe the best game so far has come from that series as well.  Vince Carter’s buzzer-beater in Game 3 on Saturday was just the icing on the cake of an exhilarating final minutes of a great basketball game.  In the final Minute and forty-six seconds The Mavericks and Spurs went a combined 7 for 8 from the field.  Monta Ellis put forth an outstanding effort (scoring 29 points on 12-22 shooting), singlehandedly keeping his team in the game.  And despite Manu Ginobli and Boris Diaw’s best efforts, Vince Carter put the nail in the coffin of Game 3 with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the corner.  This series is now tied 2-2, and Game 5 will be played tonight in San Antonio.

                    Another important news story that has been completely overshadowed thanks to Donald Sterling, is the passing of Dr. Jack Ramsay.  It’s a shame that a story as pathetic as Donald Sterling’s can overshadow the remembrance of one of the greatest NBA coaches of all-time.  But, let’s see if we can pay the proper respects to a man who was so vital to the progress of the NBA.  Dr. Jack Ramsay coached in the NBA for 20 years, and is currently 13th on the all-time wins list.  He won an NBA Championship in 1967 as the General Manager of the Philadelphia 76ers and also won a Championship in 1977 as the Coach of the Portland Trail Blazers.  After retiring from coaching in 1988, Ramsay got into Broadcasting where he did play-by-play for The Philadelphia 76ers and The Miami Heat for 9 years.  Ramsay was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 capping off a truly memorable career. 

 

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

 

Thank you for reading and leave a comment in the section below.

 

 

 

The Heat Get Beat Down

Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not ahhhh you know the rest. That is one sentence I bet Lebron James wishes he could take back. As you all know, the big “3” assembled themselves to embark on a quest. That quest was to win multiple championships. However, the way they look right now they might have to settle for just the 1. Dwyane Wade is dealing with injuries and Chris Bosh is playing like a soft 6’2″ shooting guard inside a 6’10” body. Lebron James has been left to pick up his entire team and carry them on his back (a la Cleveland 2007). I doubt this is what Lebron was anticipating when he signed with the Miami Heat. Maybe, just maybe this is karma’s way of saying, “Hey Lebron you shouldn’t have done that bad thing that you did”. Obviously that’s just a joke, but even if the Heat get past the Pacers in game 7 do you really expect them to beat the San Antonio Spurs? The way they are playing right now I highly doubt it. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though and let’s take a look at where we are and how we got there.

The Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers are deadlocked at 3 games a piece and will play a decisive game 7 on Monday night. The Heat, yes the Heat, are lucky to be in this position. The Pacers have been the better team in this series, and they were just 2.2 seconds away from winning this series. Now, there are vital questions that must be answered. How will the heat respond to this beat down? Will Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh show up to play Monday night? Will the Pacers carry the momentum from this big win into game 7? I’m going to answer all of these questions for you (just hold your horses), but first I will tell you how we got here.

Game 6 was a prime example of how the Pacers can beat the Heat. They out rebounded the Heat 53-33, and they out scored them in the paint 44-22. That my friends is a recipe for success against the vertically challenged Miami Heat. As a whole the Pacers played an efficient offensive game shooting 50% from the field. A fair question to be asked following the game is, who owns the 3rd quarter now? The Pacers came out of halftime on a mission. They out scored the Heat 29-15 in the quarter and completely turned the game around. The 3rd quarter onslaught was led by Pacers up and coming superstar Paul George. Dwyane Wade clearly can’t guard George as he went off for 28 points, and Roy Hibbert was his usual dominant self down low adding 24 points and 11 rebounds. Hibbert also had the play of the game by drawing an offensive foul on Lebron James as he drove the lane late in the 4th quarter. This was like the meeting of the unstoppable force and the immovable object. Point goes to the immovable object on this one. Also, what kind of cry baby is Lebron James? After being called for the foul he ran the full length of the floor in disbelief. Needless to say he was hit with a technical foul (hahahaha). Anyway, let’s get back to the task at hand. The real positive the Pacers should take away from this game was their defense. They held the Heat to 77 points! They also held Wade and Bosh to a combined 15 points on 4 of 19 shooting from the field (that’s a whopping 21%). Good stuff guys! You know you’re in trouble when Lebron misses having Anderseon Varejao and Boobie Gibson on his team. I have one question for whoever believes they have a reasonable answer: if Dwyane Wade is so hurt, why does he continue taking so many shots? I mean the Heat’s box scores have looked a lot like a Carmelo Anthony led squad lately. Whatever adjustments the Heat decide to make, they will not win if Lebron is left to beat the pacers singlehandedly. And this brings us to the most important question of all. What is going to happen in game 7?

The Pacers are going to win game 7 in South Beach. They are going to continue to impose their will on the interior. They will be too tall, too strong, and too physical. And most importantly they are going to come together as a team and will their way through the finish line. Lebron will post his usual phenomenal stat line, but Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will continue their struggles. This offseason will be a tumultuous one for Lebron and the Heat. Many questions will arise about the disappointment of this big “3” and their failed union. And questions of what the future will hold will follow. I am personally looking forward to their demise. That is what you get when you are cocky, and arrogant, and think you’re better than everyone else. Now all I have to do is hope my game 7 prediction is not wrong. Tune into TNT @ 8:30 p.m. for what should be a riveting game 7 in Miami. Enjoy!

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

I Think I Left My Clutch Gene At Home Today

When your team wins you get all the accolades, and when your team loses you get all the blame. Thats how it works in superstar land. Today, Lebron James is shouldering 100% of the blame for Friday night’s loss. It was an enormous loss for James and the Heat as the Indiana Pacers secured home court advantage in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers will travel back home with their confidence at an all time high after coming within inches of stealing both games in Miami. The biggest question after their heartbreaking Game 1 loss was how would they respond? Well I think we all found the answer to that question. The Pacers stayed true to themselves and they continued to highlight their strengths on the floor. They stayed physical with Miami, they used their length and size on the defensive end, and most importantly they utilized Roy Hibbert early and often. In turn he responded with another career game in these playoffs. He put in 29 huge points while grabbing 10 rebounds. While Hibbert was a big part of their victory, the Pacers showed that you don’t need to rely on one superstar to win. The Pacers starters all scored in double figures and their bench only contributed 5 points. This shows you how balanced they are, and that they all subscribe to the “team” concept. At the same time I must not overlook Paul George’s effort last night. He is truly solidifying his ranking as one of the best all around players in the NBA. He has the daunting task of guarding Lebron James, and at the same time is being asked to contribute 20+ points every night. Yes, Lebron’s stat line was godly (as it always is), but when it mattered most what did “king” James do? To find out you gotta keep reading…

With the game on the line, Lebron committed two consecutive turnovers!! Ouch!! This was not one of his brighter moments. The first turnover was really bad. Let me set the scene for you: George Hill had just knocked down two clutch free throws to put the Pacers up 95-93 with 48 seconds left. As Lebron brought the ball up he attempted to lob a pass over David West across the top of the key. Instead West stuck his arms up as if he were a cornerback who didn’t turn back to play the ball and stole the ball. The Pacers went on to turn the ball right back over on a shot clock violation. So despite the Pacers trying their darnedest to give another game away, Lebron just wanted to not win it even more. He got the ball just inside half court with the clock running down. Everyone was holding their collective breaths wondering if Lebron could pull some more heroics out of his you know where, but NOPE. He drove the lane and attempted to swing the ball outside, but the pass was intercepted by George Hill. Hill calmly walked down the floor and knocked in two more clutch free throws. This put the game nearly out of reach with the Pacers going up by four with 8 seconds to play. Chris Bosh threw up a last effort 3-pointer but it missed and the Pacers held on to win 97-93. Now in just 48 short minutes the momentum has completely shifted and there is a new question to ask today. How will the defending champion Miami Heat respond to losing on their own floor in the playoffs? I, like most, think that the Heat will still win this series, but Indiana is a difficult place to win basketball games. The road to the finals has been slightly tilted uphill for the Miami Heat, and now it is their turn to stare adversity in the face. To see what happens in the next chapter of this story, tune in to TNT on Sunday @ 8:30 p.m.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

One Liner Fridays

I just wanted to wish the New York Knicks good luck against the Miami Heat this week.

Oh wait sorry never mind, you have to actually beat the other teams on your schedule first.

You mean things don’t happen just because you say they’re going to??

Sergio, I’m making dinner tomorrow night, do you want to come over?

I’m making Paella!

How bout dem’ Yankees!

Seriously though if the baseball season ended today Mariano Rivera would win the CY Young Award.

Amazing!!

On another serious note Da Bears are finally going to retire Mike Ditka’s number.

Congratulations Ditka!!

“I took a punch from Hall of Famer, Mike Ditka, and I did not go down!”

“Sure, I wobbled a bit, but I did not go down.”

“That Ditka has fists like a small truck.”

If you haven’t seen the movie Kicking and Screaming you should, it’s pretty funny and Mike Ditka is very funny in it.

Miguel Cabrera is really good at baseball.

Just in case you forgot, the NHL Playoffs are going on right now.

I know, it’s wild that you didn’t know that.

(Inside Indiana Pacers huddle before the final play of game 1) Frank Vogel speaking (probably really fast in a funny voice) : Roy Hibbert what are you, uh 7’2″, yea you probably can’t block anyone’s shot you take a seat here next to me, and nobody guard that #6 guy I heard he’s not very good.

How’d that work out for ya?

Heyyyyyyy, the New York Rangers won a hockey game!

Hey Chase Utley’s hurt again, that’s a shocker.

Why do NBA players think it’s okay to dress like this……….

http://m.bleacherreport.com/articles/1649354-paul-georges-outfit-last-night-was-a-sea-of-microorganisms-and-regret

All of these atrocious outfits in the NBA have inspired me to write a book that will be entitled: Where Have All The Men Gone?

I always set my Sno-Cones down on the bathroom floor at a stadium filled with people.

Then I don’t wash my hands and I sell them.

Word on the street is they were lemon flavor…..mmmmmm yummy!

Hey RG3, can your daddy fight my battles for me too??

I’m glad I’m not Mark Sanchez.

I am really glad I watched The Preakness… NOT!

Can I get a stare down here?

Andre Ethier’s wasn’t bad, but if you want to see the best stare down of all-time check this out :

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0sTNI85QM4A

You’re awesome Frank Robinson.

I hope you’ve enjoyed another installment of One Liner Fridays. Leave me your best One Liner in the comment section.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Not Your Everyday Buzzer Beater

When you think of buzzer beaters, you usually see someone hitting a three pointer or someone hitting a jump shot with a hand in their face. Well, how does making an uncontested shot in a layup line sound to you to win a playoff game? Yeah, that sounds ideal to me too. Well, for those of you who couldn’t stay awake to watch the closing minutes of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals last night, that’s what happened. Lebron James drove down the lane for an uncontested layup to beat the Indiana Pacers 103-102. Now, the majority of the blame is being placed on Pacers head coach Frank Vogel for not having 7 foot 2 inch Roy Hibbert on floor for the final possession of the game. Yes, some of the blame rests on Vogel, (and I’ll get into why in a minute) but the majority of the blame should land on Paul George and his “defense” on the final play.

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, click below to watch Lebron’s game winner:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GqSXLCuANiY

There are 2.2 seconds left on the clock and everyone and their mother knows who’s getting the ball. The problem you normally have in attempting to guard Lebron James is that you never know if he’s going to shoot, drive, or pass the ball. However, with 2.2 seconds left, whoever gets the inbounds pass is going to either shoot it right away, take one dribble into a jump shot, or if he magically gets an opening he’ll take it to the hoop. So the excuse that Paul George hesitated to get out to Lebron James because Ray Allen happened to run through the lane is ludicrous. George needs to chase the best player in the world around and let Allen’s defender worry about Allen. The biggest problem with George’s defense though is that he overplays James, so when he gets the ball he already has a step on George. This horrid defense allows an unprecedented wide open layup for the game winner. Now the other hot topic is why in the world Roy Hibbert was not on the floor for the final possession?!?! To that question I have no rational response. Coach Vogel had a response, but his didn’t make much sense either. He said he left Hibbert on the bench because Chris Bosh was in at center for the Heat. Since bosh can shoot from the outside he stretches the floor and in turn pulls Hibbert outside (where he is mostly useless). This is why Roy Hibbert, the Pacers best interior defender was watching Lebron drive down the lane from the bench. Yeah, good idea Frank. His explanation is all well and good during the 1st quarter, but with 2.2 seconds on the clock it’s almost physically impossible for Lebron to get the inbound pass, drive the lane, draw a double team from Hibbert, and then hit Bosh for a wide open 12-footer. No one thought Lebron could get to the basket that fast by himself let alone pass off to someone else. Now, if Bosh somehow got the inbound pass and was to take the game winning shot, I think Vogel would have lived with a somewhat contested shot from 15-18 feet. Hibbert might by 7’2″ and not very mobile, but I’m sure he could have gotten a hand in Bosh’s face if that was the case. But that was not the case. James scored, the Heat won, and it’s only a matter of time to see how the Pacers respond.

Will they be demoralized after losing a heartbreaker on Miami’s home court? Will they bounce back and play Miami to another close game? I always thought this series was going to go 6 hard fought games, so I don’t believe this loss is the beginning of the end for the Pacers. Look for Hibbert to stay out of foul trouble early in game 2 and play the Heat tougher down low. He’ll need to play well for the Pacers to have a chance, but more importantly the Pacers, (a solid defensive team) need to play tighter defense, especially down the stretch of games in order to win. You can catch Game 2 on TNT, Friday night @ 8:30 p.m. Enjoy!

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Okay We Are Going To Start Trying….Ummm…..Starting Now!

Can the Indiana Pacers play any better, and can the New York Knicks possibly play any worse? I don’t think so. I’m not trying to make any excuses for the Knicks. Trust me, I watched that entire game and let me be the first person to say that the Knicks made me throw up in my mouth; twice. Now, I’m also not trying to take anything away from the Pacers victory, but everyone needs to hop off that panic button once again. Let me shed some light on what the Knicks have done and what they need to do to make it past the Pacers.

If J.R. Smith can remember that he is allowed to take the ball to the basket, they might fare better in the rest of the series. And Mr. Anthony is not getting let off the hook so easily either. Since the end of game 3 against the Boston Celtics, he has been downright awful! We all know the statistics, so I’m not going to bore you with those. He, and the rest of the Knicks, are a jack up shots and hope they go in team right now. Despite what everyone thinks, their best recipe for success is not to live and die by the 3. Yes, they succeed when they hit OPEN 3-pointers at a high percentage, but they really work best off of dribble penetration by Raymond Felton or Carmelo Anthony. This either leads to a bucket or trip to the foul line for Anthony, or an open shot for Felton or Iman Shumpert. Their other best offensive option is the high pick and roll involving any combination of Felton/Pablo Prigioni and Kenyon Martin/Tyson Chandler. This has led to the best offensive possessions the Knicks have seen all year. For some reason Mike Woodson doesn’t stick with what works. No matter how good the Knicks look at times they always revert back to their old habits (Iso-Melo). What Woodson needs to preach is sound defense first and smart offense second. They also need to recognize that the pace of play from game 1 completely favors the Pacers. The Pacers want to slow the ball down and work the ball through the low post (because they have a clear size advantage). The Knicks should look to push the pace at all times and take Roy Hibbert and their other big men out of play. And for the love of god, Coach, please leave Jason Kidd at the hotel napping next time you head over to the arena. He is god awful. Even when he’s wide open he doesn’t shoot the ball, so what’s the point of having him out there anyway? I’ve been screaming this from the hill tops all season, but Woodson has this secret love affair with Kidd that no one else is talking about. And at the same time, he has this odd hatred for Iman Shumpert that I can’t seem to figure out. Shumpert, especially against a defensive minded team is one of your most valuable weapons. They need Shumpert’s young legs and energy on both ends of the floor. And think about any of the Knicks fast breaks that aren’t being led by Raymond Felton. They’re being led by Shumpert aren’t they? Chew on that thought for a minute while I delve into what occurred on the Knicks home court Sunday afternoon.

As I stated before, the Pacers played a very solid game on Sunday, especially their role players. Now if Lance Stephenson is going to have a double double every night and D.J. Augustin is going to hit 45 three pointers than the Knicks have no chance in this series. However, if you want me to realistically believe that that’s going to happen, that also is not going to happen. I just can’t see the Knicks rolling over and dying in this series. Maybe I’m telling you what I want to see more than what I think, but for everyone’s sake they better show a better effort than they did in game 1. I think we will all see what this team is made of in game 2. At this point in the season, they need to lay it all on the line and leave every ounce of energy on that floor Tuesday night. I think they’ll stand up to the challenge and win what is without a doubt their biggest game of the year. It’s playoffs time baby! It’s do or die! 99-88 Knicks. Book it.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!