Each day that there’s a playoff game, we’ll have three things to watch in the NBA playoffs. Each note will be accompanied by a contest. We’ll announce winners after each round. Here’s today’s three things to watch:
1) Indiana doing it again. The Pacers now have a 2-1 lead over the Knicks in the second round of the playoffs, and it’s no accident. While New York runs its offense through Carmelo Anthony at a historic rate (more on that in a bit), the Pacers utilize a balanced attack. Three different players (David West, Paul George, Roy Hibbert) have led the Pacers in scoring in their three games against New York, and they’ve gotten important contributions from George Hill and D.J. Augustin (in Game 1). It’s not just their offense: the Pacers have done an excellent job funneling three-point attempts away from New York like no team has been able to this year. At home, their success should continue tonight.
2) An unlikely hero. With San Antonio joining the world in expecting Stephen Curry to shoot the Warriors through the playoffs, the Warriors got two unlikely heroes in their two series wins: guard Klay Thompson (who put up an enormous 34-14 in Game 2) and Harrison Barnes (who somehow took 26 field goal attempts in their Game 4 overtime victory). I’m guessing Thompson will do it again: you can only stay at home on Curry for so long without giving Thompson some open looks.
3) Melo the shooter. As Kevin Pelton of ESPN noted today, Carmelo Anthony is currently using 38.7% of his team’s possessions in the playoffs, the highest of any multi-series playoff performance ever. He’s taken 230 field goal attempts in the playoffs, just ten fewer than his next two teammates combined. If that trend continues and Anthony continues to shoot poorly — just 39.1% in the playoffs an 29.5% from deep — it could spell trouble for New York.