George Hill scored a game high 26 points, Paul George added 18, and the Indiana Pacers sent the Knicks to the brink of elimination winning game four 93-82. The Pacers are now one win away from reaching the conference finals for the first time since 2004. The Knicks fell to 0-4 in Indiana this season.
Rebounding was once again the key for the Pacers. Indiana out-rebounded the Knicks 54-36. The Pacers had 3 players record double digit rebounds. Paul George had a game high 14, Roy Hibbert had 11, and David West had 10. Which ever team has had more rebounds in this series has won each game.
But rebounding wasn’t all the Knicks continue to struggle with. New York’s shooting struggles continued. For the second game in a row, the Knicks shot just 35 percent from the field. The Pacers were slightly better shooting 40 percent.
Through 3 quarters, JR Smith was 2/12 shooting before finally getting it together in the fourth quarter. Smith was 5/10 in the fourth, but that was too little too late for the Knicks.
Smith was very hard on himself after the game essentially taking responsibility for the Knicks being one game away from elimination.
“I take the blame for this whole series…I haven’t been playing my part. I’ve been letting my teammates down. I’ve been letting my coaches down. It doesn’t feel good,” he said.
If the Knicks are trying to take any positives out of this one, maybe JR Smith carries over his fourth quarter performance into game 5.
Another big issue for the Knicks is the health of Iman Shumpert’s knee. Before the game, Shumpert’s knee acted up and he nearly had to sit out. Shumpert started, but had his worst game of the series. Shumpert was only able to play 16 minutes and was held scoreless. For the eighth game in a row, Jason Kidd was held scoreless. You have to wonder how much Kidd has left in the tank.
Carmelo had a solid game scoring a team high 24 points, but he can’t continue do it all by himself.
Game 5 is set for Thursday night from Madison Square Garden. A couple of thing to watch for going forward for the Knicks is the health of Shumpert, and how quick of a hook Mike Woodson has for JR Smith.
The Knicks don’t have much room for error and can’t afford another poor shooting performance if they want to keep their season alive.