Thoughts at halftime of Game 4

The New York Knicks wilted on a flower day.

Five different Indiana Pacers scored in double figures in the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, forcing the Knicks to trail by a massive 69-41 after 24 minutes. New York is dangerously close to completely losing its 2-0 lead and suffering a tie series when it returns to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.

Mitchell Robinson put together the longest playing career in New York for a reason, and his absence was particularly felt in Game 3. Indiana has since developed an outside game and the Knicks countered with their own inside work, but the large lead was extended by points in the paint. Pascal Siakam, for example, proved to be very effective and stayed out of foul trouble, while Isaiah Jackson grabbed three offensive rebounds in four quick minutes. It's not that the substitutions weren't up to par (Precious Achiuwa has four attacking players), but they need to channel their inner Robinsons if they want to mount a comeback.

The Knicks' bench has been an asset all season as it has completely made up for the sacrifices made to build a better team. However, there is no doubt that they might be craving even the smallest dose of Immanuel Quickley and/or Obi Toppin at this point. TJ McConnell (10 points, 4 assists amid brilliant perimeter defense) all but dares Rick Carlisle to shut him down again, while Toppin undoubtedly enjoys his revenge via slam dunk show. Alec Burks has paved something of a comeback path for the second straight game… but how valuable can that be when most of the remaining rotation men have little to no experience with him?

Anna Harden

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