INDIANAPOLIS -- The Knicks' biggest problem in Game 3 was their offense. Who would've thought? All season, the question was whether the team's defense would be stingy enough in the playoffs. The offense was seen as the strong suit.
But that wasn't the case Saturday night, when the Knicks held the Pacers to a miserable shooting percentage (35 percent) but shot just as poorly (35.2 percent) themselves.
"When you hold a team to 82 points on their floor, you've got to think that you've got a chance to win," coach Mike Woodson said. "With our team, I never thought we couldn't score 82 points."
The most glaring issue was the lack of 3-pointers. The Knicks set an NBA record during the regular season by attempting 28.9 shots per game from behind the arc. They never took fewer than 19 in any of their 82 games.
In Game 3, they attempted 11 -- making three -- and three of those looks came after Woodson put in the bench players for garbage time.
How did the Pacers prevent the Knicks from getting good 3-point looks in Game 3?
"Honestly, I think we're doing it to ourselves," Tyson Chandler said after Sunday's practice. "I watched the tape myself and there's open looks. We have to be willing passers. You have to sacrifice yourself sometimes for the betterment of the team."
To Chandler, the problem was the lack of draw-and-kick opportunities. When New York's perimeter players -- Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton, specifically -- are able to create penetration and then pass out to an open teammate, the Knicks' offense is at its best.
"What we're not doing a good job of right now is the draw-and-kick game, and that's what we've been great at throughout the season," Chandler said.
Too often, the Knicks center saw possessions dominated by a single player. "I think we need to do a better job of allowing the game dictate who takes the shots, not the individuals," Chandler said.
He didn't want to blame anyone for being selfish or trying to play hero ball, but that mentality crept into their attack during Game 3.
"I'm not saying that anyone is doing it maliciously," Chandler said. "I think it's more so you get in the situation where you want to take over the game or make a big shot."
The solution is ball movement and using both sides of the floor. Increasingly in the NBA, defenses are too good to give up anything when the ball just stays on one side of the court. There must be ball rotation that forces the defense to move. That's when an opponent falters and gives up lanes that can be exploited and open shots that can be knocked down.
Woodson said Game 4 needs to feature a lot more ball movement. "We get it in spurts, but we're not getting it consistently enough. I mean, we're just not," Woodson said. “In a playoff series, when teams start locking in, you cannot play on one side of the floor. Last night, we were back to that again."
Like the team's center, the coach wants to see much less isolation and a lot more passing.
"I've got to keep screaming and pushing, and guys have to recognize that we need to get the ball moving from side to side," Woodson said. "That's the only way we can play and perhaps get out of this series. We just can't play on one side of the floor."
If that happens, he thinks all his players will produce.
If not? Well, the Knicks, who trail 2-1 in the series, will find themselves in quite the hole.
"We've going to need everybody playing Tuesday night on all high cylinders, because we don't want to go back home down 3-1," Woodson said. "That would be a tough climb for us."
KNICKS MUST PUSH TEMPO: The Knicks believe they are playing too slowly. "We're not doing a good job of getting out on the break," Chandler said. "We're walking the ball up the floor. Our wings are not busting out. We've got to get the ball out quick."
His coach agrees. "We're playing too slowly," Woodson said.
He reiterated Chandler's point about the need to stop walking the ball up the floor: "That's the only way we're going to get out of this offensive rut."
CARMELO NOT GETTING ENOUGH LOOKS: Indiana's All-Star wing, Paul George, has done a good job keeping Carmelo Anthony from getting good shots. He has often done it through the simplest, though not easiest, means possible: preventing Anthony from even getting the ball.
George's strong denial was key late for Indiana to hold Anthony to just three shot attempts in the fourth quarter. He made none of them.
While Woodson doesn't want his offense to be "a one-man show" he realizes New York needs to get his star more looks late. "I'm not OK with him taking three shots," Woodson said. "He's got to take more shots."
AMAR'E'S MINUTES UNLIKELY TO INCREASE: Woodson thought Amar’e Stoudemire played well in his first nine minutes back on the court, after two months away -- though that is about all he will get. “His minutes won’t grow much more than that," Woodson said. "In those 10-12 minutes that he gets, he’s got to make them productive.”
KIDD REMAINS SCORELESS: Jason Kidd missed his only shot in Game 3. This extended his scoreless streak to seven games. Overall, he has scored 11 points in 220 minutes played during the Knicks' nine playoff games this year.