Tommy DeeNBA Playoff basketball, the one I know anyway, is about several simple things. First you have to be able to execute your game plan and hope you have the benefit of some positive whistles. You also have to get plus play from unexpected sources and you, most importantly, have to be able to adjust on the fly. You have to be able to communicate those adjustments and hope your players can execute them.
A great example of preparation happened at the end of the first half on the Pacers’ last offensive possession. They were about to run a play when Frank Vogel raced to call time out. It was a great time out at the time because he wanted to ensure his team got the best possible play called at the best possible time giving them the best possible chance to close the half with a basket. Scoring before the half can be a huge momentum boost and it was for the Pacers who would out score the Knicks 29-19 in the third quarter taking control of the contest.
Vogel dialed up something he and his staff spotted in scouting the Knicks, running left wing action freeing Paul George off a screen. George would drain the shot giving the Pacers a 6-point lead and Vogel essentially stole 3 points from the Knicks. If were Woodson, which I said at the time on Twitter, I would have came out in zone to try and cross the Pacers wires. He decided to stay with man and it cost him.
Woodson has his work cut out for him with these adjustments and I like his post game comments about the team not playing hard enough. He needs to be hard on JR Smith whose nocturnal habits are inexcusable and really having a negative impact in my opinion. If Woodson is going to get credit for JR’s regular season, he has to be held accountable for not reeling Smith in over the past few days. Forget the fans, Smith is letting down his teammates and the organization as a whole. His lack of focus hurts his shooting and his lack of professionalism continues to hurt his brand.
The thing I would stick with is the strategy to keep attacking Hibbert especially with Melo. The will get those calls more often than not, I feel. They need to get him off the floor. Also, Woodson has to challenge his rebounders to cancel Lance Stephenson who had 13 total including 11 defensively. They were -14 on the glass and gave up 11 offensive rebounds and only pulled down 5. Throw in the ridiculously positive showing from DJ Augustin who had 16 points on just 6 field goal attempts, the Knicks still were within 6 points at the end of the game.
Now it’s on Woodson to make the necessary fixes and hope his players to a man can deliver