The New York Knicks will try to even their series with the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night when the two sides duke it out in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden.
The Pacers came into the Big Apple on Sunday and won Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, 102-95. Indiana has stolen the home-court advantage from the Knicks, but that doesn't mean the Pacers are taking Tuesday's game lightly.
"We have the mindset that Game 2 is a must-win and we have to go after it," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "You're going to see incredible desperation on (the Knicks') part, and we have to exceed that."
In Game 1, David West led a bruising effort from Indiana's great front line. He finished with 20 points, followed by 19 from All-Star and Most Improved Player Paul George, and 14 from Roy Hibbert.
The Pacers used their excellent team defense on Sunday, holding the Knicks to 19 points in both the second and third quarters. Some Knicks hinted that the Pacers went after Carmelo Anthony's injured shoulder, which could possibly explain his 10-for-28 shooting afternoon.
"I'm going to stand my ground," said George, who has the primary task of shutting down the NBA's leading scorer. "I'm not a player to go after injuries or try to hurt guys. I want the best out of 'Melo. I don't want to hurt 'Melo and limit him."
George Hill added 14 points and Lance Stephenson continued his great run during the playoffs with 11 points and 13 rebounds. D.J. Augustin chipped in 16 points off the bench in just under 13 minutes.
The Knicks universally agreed the Pacers outworked them in Game 1.
"They beat us on the glass, they beat us to the loose basketballs out there, the hustle plays, and they outworked us," Anthony said.
Anthony led the way with 27 points, but it came on 28 shots. He did grab 11 rebounds.
Raymond Felton once again played very well. He had 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field. J.R. Smith, the Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA, had 17 off the bench and Kenyon Martin added 12 in a reserve role. Iman Shumpert scored 11.
One of New York's biggest problems has been the shooting of Anthony and Smith. The two were sensational scorers for the Knicks in the regular season, but have struggled shooting in this postseason. Anthony is shooting 37 percent from the field and Smith is at 36 percent.
"It helps to get to the free-throw line some," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said after practice on Monday. "Sometimes, some of the difficult shots you're accustomed to making, that you're not making, you've got to find a way to take better shots. I think they're capable of doing that. Only time will tell."
Amare Stoudemire returned to practice on Monday, but is not expected to play on Tuesday night. He underwent right knee surgery in mid-March and with Game 3 not until Saturday, Stoudemire will probably be in uniform once the series moves to Indianapolis.
"If he doesn't have any setbacks, then he'll probably suit up Saturday," Woodson said of Stoudemire.
Game 3 will be Saturday in Indianapolis.