The New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers are knotted at 1-1 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series, which shifts to Indianapolis Saturday night for Game 3.
The Pacers embarrassed the Knicks in Madison Square Garden in Game 1, but the home team prevailed in Game 2, thanks to a huge fourth-quarter effort. The Knicks outscored Indiana, 33-13, in the final frame on Tuesday to win, 105-79.
"The big key in the game was our play on the defensive end, stopping them and getting out in transition," said Carmelo Anthony. "We got some easy baskets, and just being patient out there were the most important things."
Anthony, who is battling a shoulder issue, led all scorers way back on Tuesday. He had 32 points on 13-for-26 shooting from the floor.
Iman Shumpert netted 15, followed by 14 from Raymond Felton and 10 apiece from Pablo Prigioni and Kenyon Martin.
Absent from that list was J.R. Smith, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA. He struggled once again with only eight points thanks to an ice-cold 3-for-15 night from the floor.
Smith has struggled through the last four or five games. His head coach is close to reaching a boiling point with his bench star.
"I'll gauge J.R. as we go along and if I feel he's not giving me anything, I could always turn to other guys on that bench," Woodson told ESPN Radio. "I feel good about the guys who come in off the bench, just like I feel good about J.R. But if he's struggling and I feel the need that I got to pull him, I will do that as the head coach."
Woodson will get another weapon as the series moves to Indianapolis.
Amare Stoudemire, who has been sidelined since March with a knee injury, will return to the lineup. Woodson indicated Stoudemire won't see heavy minutes, but his presence will be felt.
"If I didn't think Amare was important to our team, then I wouldn't even consider that," Woodson said Friday. "But Amare can still play, and I think he proved that in the short time he was back this last time."
Stoudemire also missed the first 30 games this season with injuries to both knees.
The Pacers don't really care who comes back for the Knicks. They stole home- court advantage with a Game 1 victory and now get back to their building to try and advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
"I'm sure this team is going to be amped to play on Saturday," said Pacers guard George Hill. "I'm sure our building is going to be live and we just have to take it one game at a time."
After a balanced attack in Game 1, the Pacers got very little going offensively in Game 2. On Tuesday, only three Indiana players -- Paul George, David West and Hill -- scored in double figures.
The Pacers shot 45.5 percent from the field on Tuesday, but the Knicks shot close to 50 percent. Indiana was near the top of the league in opponents' scoring and opponents' field-goal percentage during the regular season.
All that considered, Indiana's biggest problem in Game 2 was turnovers. The Pacers coughed it up 21 times, which led to 32 Knicks points, compared to only seven turnovers for New York.
"We had some real good practices. Our focal points were taking care of the ball, especially when they're tracking," said Paul George, the NBA's Most Improved Player this season, who had seven turnovers himself in Game 2. "That's going to be a big key and I think everything else will take care of itself."
The Pacers won both of this season's matchups in Indianapolis and have taken five of the last seven at home.
Game 4 is slated for Tuesday.