He also called it a “gut- check” game. At least it’s a game. After playing nine since April 20, the Knicks are on the brink of a sprint that could involve four games and three plane rides in seven days that largely will define their season.
Give the Knicks their due for a 54-win regular season and a first-round elimination of the Celtics, but the reality is that anything short of a berth in the conference finals will be a disappointment.
And to avoid it, they must win three times between now and Monday, at least once here, against a flawed Pacers team that nevertheless presents significant matchup problems.
This is a crossroad moment for many important Knicks, including Anthony and coach Mike Woodson, a guy from Indy trying to get past a team whose owner, president and starting shooting guard are New Yorkers.
Woodson must avoid internal issues from tearing at his team. He did his best to downplay that possibility, saying Chandler’s remarks merely indicated “a good teammate” offering constructive criticism.
“Sometimes bickering amongst each other is pretty healthy,” Woodson said, then reconsidered the term. “Maybe that’s not the word to use.”
Maybe. It is difficult to say without knowing exactly what Anthony and Chandler discussed, and how they discussed it.
When asked whether everyone is “pulling in the same direction,” Melo said, “Oh, we’re good. As far as mentally and everybody being on the same page, everybody is staying confident. Everybody is where we should be now.”
Where they are is two losses from elimination. Talking time is over. To quote Mariano Rivera: “Shhhh!”