Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks (-6, 183)
Indiana leads series 1-0.
The New York Knicks had a hard time dealing with the physical play of the Indiana Pacers in Game 1. If the Knicks hope to avoid dropping two straight at home to begin the series, they will need to figure out a way to counter that rugged presence when they host the Pacers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Tuesday. New York squandered home-court advantage in the series in Game 1, when Paul George locked up Carmelo Anthony.
George got Indiana through the first round on the offensive end and scored 19 points in Game 1 against the Knicks, but his big contribution came on defense. The All-Star forward harassed Anthony and J.R. Smith into bad shots and made sure their charges into the lane went through center Roy Hibbert. The rough play jacked up the foul total for both teams, and the Pacers were able to make their big run in the third quarter when Anthony went to the bench with foul trouble. New York’s star came alive in the fourth quarter, but the deficit proved too great.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE PACERS: Indiana did exactly what it needed to do in winning the first game, setting itself up for at worst a 1-1 draw heading back home for Game 3. The Pacers had trouble when the Atlanta Hawks went to a bigger lineup in the first round but brought plenty of toughness to counter Kenyon Martin and Tyson Chandler in Game 1 against the Knicks. Hibbert proved to be the key, clogging the middle of the lane and staying straight up when challenging shots at the rim to avoid foul calls. Indiana forced New York to play at its pace and George held Anthony to 5-of-17 and Smith to 0-of-7 shooting when he was matched up against the Knicks’ top scorers.
ABOUT THE KNICKS: Anthony was 10-for-28 overall in the contest and is shooting 31.8 percent in the last four playoff games. He mentioned after Game 1 that his ailing left shoulder had bothered him during the contest but declined to use the Pacers’ physical play as an excuse. “The physicality of this game didn’t do nothing to me, to us,” Anthony told reporters. New York’s big problems were on the glass, where they were outrebounded 44-30, and in the paint. The Knicks prefer to play smaller, with Anthony at the power forward spot and a trio of guards. That leads to a difficult defensive match for Anthony on Pacers forward David West, who scored 20 points in Game 1.
* Pacers are 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings in New York.
* Underdog is 13-6 ATS in the last 19 meetings.
* Pacers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Knicks are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 home games.
1. The Knicks are 0-5 all-time when losing Game 1 of a series at home. The last time they lost a Game 1 at home was to the Pacers in the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals.
2. Indiana G Lance Stephenson grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds in Game 1.
3. New York F Amar’e Stoudemire (left knee) is targeting Game 3 for his return. He has been out since March.
Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder (-2.5, 186)
Oklahoma City leads series 1-0.
Kevin Durant refused to let Oklahoma City lose the opener and the Thunder look to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. Memphis led most of the contest and took a nine-point lead into the final quarter but Durant capped a 35-point, 15-rebound effort by hitting the go-ahead shot with 11.1 seconds left in the 93-91 victory. The Grizzlies attempt to bounce back from the agonizing loss.
Memphis had won four consecutive postseason games by double digits and carried the flow of play for most of the opener. But Oklahoma City’s rally and some sloppy Memphis possessions down the stretch allowed the Thunder to squeeze out a victory. “It was a game that I think that we all think we should’ve won,” Grizzlies forward Quincy Pondexter said afterward. “We were right there in it and they really did a great job of executing down the stretch.” Durant received offensive support from guard Kevin Martin (25 points) and the Thunder actually outrebounded the Grizzlies 43-41. The free-throw line was also a deciding element as Oklahoma City went 22-of-25 while Memphis struggled to 14-for-24.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES: Two turnovers in the final 18 seconds did in Memphis in the opener despite the fact Pondexter had a chance to force overtime when he was sent to the free-throw line to attempt three shots with 1.6 seconds left. Point guard Mike Conley had a subpar game and his 5-of-15 shooting line marked the fourth time in five games he has shot below 40 percent. Power forward Zach Randolph fell two points short of his fifth straight 20-point outing while notching his third double-double in five games and center Marc Gasol had his second double-double of the postseason but the inside presence wasn’t a difference-maker despite Oklahoma City post starters Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins combining to make only 2-of-16 shots. Pondexter provided a boost off the bench with 13 points and hit three of Memphis’ seven 3-pointers.
ABOUT THE THUNDER: Martin has back-to-back 25-point outings after being largely disappointing over most of the first-round series with the Houston Rockets. He is 6-for-10 from 3-point range in the two games while helping make up for the scoring void caused by the loss of Russell Westbrook (knee) for the postseason. “It was just moving without the ball, guys getting screens and guys finding me,” Martin said after Sunday’s victory. “We’ve got a nice little flow going right now. We’re just making an extra effort to get everyone involved.” Durant has been stellar with four games of 35 or more points over the last five outings. He is averaging 32.9 points in the postseason despite hitting just 27.3 percent of his 3-point attempts.
* Grizzlies are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Oklahoma City.
* Over is 19-7 in the last 26 meetings in Oklahoma City.
* Over is 14-6 in the last 20 meetings.
* Underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Road team is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings.
1. Durant has scored 20 or more points in 33 consecutive playoff games.
2. Memphis SF Tayshaun Prince suffered a hip injury during Game 1 so Pondexter may again receive extended minutes.
3. Thunder G Derek Fisher was fined $5,000 by the NBA for flopping in Game 5 of the first-round series against the Houston Rockets.