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Tyson Chandler Dissents: Knicks in Trouble against Pacers

Tyson Chandler Dissents: Knicks in Trouble against Pacers

May 13, 2013

After seeing off their arch-rivals the Boston Celtics, the New York Knicks entered the series against the third seeded Indiana Pacers as strong favorites. However, when they enter Game 4 on Tuesday night, they will know that a loss just about ends their chances of advancing to the Eastern conference finals.

A poor Game 3 display in Indiana was followed up by some more concerning signs from the Knicks’ dressing room. Center Tyson Chandler appeared to call out a couple of his team mates. He suggested that a few players needed to play less selfish basketball offensively. Chandler didn’t call any of his team mates specifically, but it seems pretty clear that he would have been referring to New York’s two main isolation players Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith.

Anthony for his part suggested that the Knicks would handle the issue internally, but an out of character comment from one of the team’s leaders at this critical juncture doesn’t bode well for a Knicks’ roster that most considered to be Miami’s toughest rival in the East heading into the 2013 NBA playoffs.

Chandler’s comments are particularly puzzling given the context of what actually happened in the game. The center had a poor game by his high standards. Chandler picked up just five rebounds and the former defensive player of the year was steam-rolled by the Pacers’ Roy Hibbert, who dropped 24 points in arguably the strongest playoff performance of his career.

Meanwhile, neither Anthony nor Smith lighted it up in terms of scoring, but Anthony’s 16 shots and Smith’s 12 shots hardly represented ‘ball-hogging’ or ‘over-shooting’. Anthony is the scoring race champion. The Knicks want him shooting 15-20 shots per game even when he’s not necessarily feeling it.

The Knicks need to make three-point shots to be successful and going 3-11 from range was definitely a problem in this game. However, even then their shooting percentages were generally about the same as the Pacers, and they even had an advantage from the free throw line both in terms of attempts and percentage made.

The biggest problem in Game 3 was rebounding where New York got dominated. Indiana won the overall battle 53-41 and had the greatest advantage in terms of offensive rebounds where they pulled down 18 compared with the Knicks 11.

Who on this New York roster is probably most important for the Knicks rebounding game? Well, that would be Tyson Chandler. The team’s main big man averaged 10.70 rebounds per game during the regular season. He picked up 8.7 boards per game against Boston in round one, but he has averaged just four rebounds per game in the three games against Indiana.

The Pacers are physical, they are big and they are tough. However, Chandler clearly needs to step up. He needs to get the better of Hibbert on the inside and he needs to give the Knicks more defensively.

Chandler’s comments are concerning because it is pretty clear that a key cog on this team, who has under-performed through the first three games, is diverting blame. If the Knicks are going to best the Pacers, they are going to need to be honest and accountable. That starts by taking responsibility for your own play first.

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