The Pacers can take advantage of a tired Knicks team for the rest of the series

With the New York Knicks very clearly gassed after losing much of their rotation, this is a perfect time for the Indiana Pacers to strike and put them away for good.
New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers - Game Four
New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers - Game Four / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The New York Knicks are gassed, and the Pacers need to take advantage.

Already heading into the second-round series against the Pacers with a depleted roster, health has not exactly been on the Knicks' side since starting the series. In addition to Julius Randle and Bojan Bogdanovic already being ruled out for the rest of the season, the Knicks also lost Mitchell Robinson after Game 1 and OG Anunoby during Game 2. Robinson has already been ruled out for the series, and a report before Game 4 stated that Anunoby has not been able to run since his injury, effectively ruling him out as well.

As a result, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau could not shorten his rotation anymore and had to play more players, including Jericho Sims and Alec Burks in Game 4. Despite this, the Knicks still looked incredibly tired. Specifically, the trio of Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo was completely gassed. After lighting up the Pacers in Games 1 through 3, the Nova trio combined for only 27 points on an abysmal 10/36 shooting and 1/13 from deep.

More specifically, it was not about how many shots the Knicks missed, but rather how they missed said shots. Nearly every Knicks miss in Game 4 was short, either air-balling or hitting the front iron and bouncing off, indicating that the players had little to no lift left in their legs.

While some of this is due to injury, especially so in Jalen Brunson's case, a lot of it has to do with Coach Thibodeau's grueling rotations, which involve playing Brunson, DiVincenzo, Hart, and the rest of the starters upwards of 40+ minutes every night with little to no rest. Unfortunately, this type of play has consequences, and Indiana exploited every weakness New York had in Game 4, playing far too fast for their liking and racking up the points as a result.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, they will not be receiving any help from their injured players anytime soon, as every injury they have is a long-term one that will result in more missed games. They will have to play the rest of the series with the same short rotation that they used in Games 3 and 4.

At this point, Indiana has no excuse not to pounce on this opportunity. The Pacers have to come out of the gates playing extremely fast in Game 5 and tire the Knicks out early as they did on Sunday.


This is Indiana's series to lose at this point, and they have no excuse to not take advantage and play down to the Knicks.