A sick feeling is emanating through the New York Knicks.
The offense is struggling, their playoff hopes teetering and key players are missing practice.
That’s not how coach Mike Woodson intended to spend Sunday afternoon following an abysmal Game 3 performance that left the Knicks in a 2-1 hole and in a precarious position heading into Tuesday night’s game at Indiana. Two of his top players — guard J.R. Smith and forward Kenyon Martin — didn’t even make it to the workout because they were ill.
“We’ve got to be careful that this thing doesn’t spread and other guys start dropping so we kept them back at the hotel,” Woodson said.
There’s no telling if either player will return in time to make an impact in Game 4, which has become essential for the Knicks to keep their playoff drive alive.
Something is clearly wrong with the sickly shooting Knicks.
On Saturday, New York made just 35.2 percent from the field, and its vaunted 3-point shooting vanished as it went 3-of-11 from beyond the arc. The result was a stinging 82-71 loss in which the Knicks flirted with a franchise-record scoring low. The record is 67. New York didn’t top that until Martin’s dunk with 1:39 left in a game that had already been decided.
Nobody played well.
NBA scoring champ Carmelo Anthony finished with a team-high 21 points but managed only two of those in the fourth quarter, when he was 0-of-3 from the field.
Smith, the NBA’s top sixth man, played just hours after spiking a 102-degree fever that nearly kept him out. He wound up making just 4 of 12 shots to actually improve his shooting percentage in the first three games. He’s 11-of-42 from the field in the series.
Woodson used Martin as one of the defenders against Pacers center Roy Hibbert, but Hibbert finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds against a full complement of seemingly healthy big men from New York.
Now for the second time in a week, Woodson and his players are trying to figure out how to counter Indiana’s tough, stingy defense.
“I watched the tape myself, and there’s open looks,” center Tyson Chandler said. “You have to sacrifice yourself sometimes for the betterment of the team. I think we need to do a better job of allowing the game to dictate who takes the shots. You get in a situation where you want to take over the game or you want to make a big shot where you have to stick to the game plan. Good teams win basketball games unless you’re a great, great, great, great individual.”
The Pacers actually shot worse than New York, making only 35.0 percent of their shots, but pulled away for their fourth straight home win in the playoffs because they forced 15 turnovers, outrebounded the Knicks 53-40 and outscored New York 20-10 on second-chance points.
Coach Frank Vogel couldn’t have asked for much more. So on Sunday, he gave his team another day off.
But with a second chance to take a commanding lead in the series, the Pacers view Saturday’s victory as just a starting point.
“They’re a tremendously talented team,” Hibbert said. “With Game 4, we always have a mindset that they’re going to be perfect.”
The Pacers know they must play just as well to send the Knicks back to Madison Square Garden in a 3-1 hole.
What can New York do to get back in the series?
Woodson had hoped the return of Amare Stoudemire from a two-month layoff following knee surgery would help the Knicks inside Saturday. Instead, Stoudemire looked rusty, scoring seven points and grabbing just two rebounds in nine minutes. Steve Novak, who missed the first game of the series, played sparingly in Game 2, even less time in Game 3 and still has not scored in the series.
Smith and Anthony have continued to struggle shooting the ball, combining to go 40-for-112 in three games.
And now Martin is under the weather, too.
But the Knicks believe they can — and will — start playing better.
“We’re going to need everybody playing Tuesday night on all cylinders,” Woodson said. “We don’t want to go back down 3-1. That would be a tough climb for us.”
A sick feeling is emanating through the New York Knicks.
- Pro Sports
Werner's progress evident at Colts Camp
Bjoern Werner's rookie training camp was rather quiet. The German-born outside linebacker went through individual drills and worked hard in full-team sessions, but he was overwhelmed by all the new information he was processing. And it was holding him back. When the season started, Werner was further set back by a foot injury that cost him three games, and he finished the year with just 2.5 sacks. Then the former Florida State star went to work.
- Colts Notes: Thomas, Hilton hurt in Wednesday's practice After a physical practice Wednesday afternoon at Anderson University, the Indianapolis Colts are hoping they have not lost another starter. Left guard Donald Thomas hit the ground following an 11-on-11 running drill and was visibly upset when he finally was helped to his feet. He threw his mouthguard away in anger and attempted to walk off the injury with trainers away from the rest of his teammates.
- Colts focusing on situational improvement One year ago, the focus in Indianapolis Colts training camp was on turnovers. The team had committed far too many in 2012 and was determined not to repeat its mistakes. The theme at Anderson University carried over to the field, and the Colts' 14 turnovers were the fewest in the NFL last year.
Looking back at Week 1 of Colts Camp
The first week of Indianapolis Colts training camp has ended at Anderson University, and the players received their first day off Tuesday. Practice resumes today with the daily morning walkthrough followed by a public session scheduled to begin at 1:50 p.m. With the team's preseason debut at the New York Jets just eight days away, here's a look at three things that have stood out since the Colts hit campus on July 23.
Colts Quick Hits: Tuesday, July 29
Notes,news and fun facts from Colts Training Camp at Anderson University on Monday.
Judge OKs record-setting $2 billion sale of Clippers
Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lost his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Colts release RB Rainey
Just two days after earning praise for his playmaking ability from head coach Chuck Pagano, running back Chris Rainey was waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday morning. The news was broken in a press release around 8:30 a.m. and later confirmed by Pagano during an afternoon session with the media.
Luck still learning
Wind chill estimates put the temperature at 59 degrees Monday morning at Anderson University. During one stretch of his fifth training camp practice of the year, however, it likely felt much colder to Andrew Luck.
Castonzo comfortable with Colts' changing O-line
For all the changes along the offensive line the past three seasons, Anthony Castonzo has been the lone constant. He joined a veteran group anchored by center Jeff Saturday in 2011, was part of a remodeled unit in 2012 and became a mainstay at left tackle for all 16 games last year.
Colts' offense adapting to new arsenal
Third-year tight end Dwayne Allen suffered a season-opening hip injury in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders, then watched as left guard Donald Thomas, running backs Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw and wide receiver Reggie Wayne also exited the lineup over the next six weeks. It left offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton scrambling to come up with new ways to attack defenses with an ever-changing cast of characters.
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- Werner's progress evident at Colts Camp