The Knicks have defied the odds for most of the season. They fielded one of the oldest teams in league history — not to mention one of the smallest.
It looks like those factors have caught up to them in a 93-82 loss to the younger and bigger Pacers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Perhaps the Knicks can draw inspiration from their hockey brethren, the Rangers, and fight back from a 3-1 series deficit, but it doesn’t look good. Forget that center Tyson Chandler and forward Carmelo Anthony seemingly had a disconnect following their Game 3 loss, because it appears not even a cohesive Knicks squad can hang with a Pacers’ team that has outhustled, overpowered and outexecuted them.
Anthony finished with 24 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter, but it was nowhere near enough, as he got next to nothing from his supporting cast. Raymond Felton had 14 points and Chandler had a respectable 12 points and 10 rebounds, but the Pacers had four starters in double figures.
What we saw ...
1. Knicks head coach Mike Woodson started a bigger lineup in Game 4 by going with Kenyon Martin at power forward and Carmelo Anthony back at his customary small forward position. It didn’t help matters much, as the Pacers still hammered the Knicks on the glass, 54-36. Paul George led the way for Indiana as he grabbed a game-high 14 boards from the small forward position.
2. Tyson Chandler wasn’t totally overmatched in going against Roy Hibbert like in the previous two losses, but he still didn’t fare much better. Statistically, the numbers evened themselves out some, as Chandler recorded 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, while a foul-plagued Hibbert only had six points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.
3. Who knows if Anthony was indirectly criticized by Chandler following the Game 3 loss, but it should be noted that without Anthony’s brilliant scoring, Game 4 would’ve been a far worse defeat. Other than Felton’s buckets, the Knicks got very little else on the offensive end from anyone else. J.R. Smith had 19 points, but it was perhaps the most ineffective 19 points anyone could score. Smith shot 7-of-22, including 3-of-10 from behind the arc, as his shooting slump has continued at the most inopportune moments
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.