In tonight’s Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals there are some questions that will remain to be answered. Will Roy Hibbert and David West continue to make the necessary contributions that it takes for the Pacers to win with ease? Will Indiana’s physical defense continue to disrupt the productivity of New York’s offensive production? Are the Pacers ready to become the elite team they have shown signs of being capable of?
The answers for me are yes.
Looking back to the first round series with the Hawks I have noticed that in the latter games with Atlanta that the Pacers starting coming into their own. It appeared to me that while their defense improved so did their offensive confidence. Combining the utilization of the post-up play of both Hibbert and West with their defense creating easy buckets in the transition game, the Pacers have become dominant. This became extremely apparent in their Game 1 victory over New York in Madison Square Garden.
I imagine that Coach Frank Vogel will be telling his guys to keep pushing the Knicks around on the defensive end of the court. New York’s Carmello Anthony was obviously frustrated in the post-game interview and the Pacers will want to exploit that. The league has declined in the amount of fouls called over the past few seasons and this allows opportunities for a defense that is designed like Indiana’s.
Although Paul George had a fairly quiet Game 1 I will look for him to get going early. Indiana will continue to take advantage of their size and physicality at the rim and this should open up chances for the Pacers perimeter shooters. Add in the penetration ability of our backcourt and it should prove difficult for the Knicks to overcome an excited and motivated Indiana squad.
New York will try to get back on track, but this task should prove difficult as the Pacers are coming together at the perfect time of the year.