In no particular order, here’s what I’m thinking about heading into Game 1 this afternoon:
Raymond Felton just played the best series of his life. Will he manage to put up anything like that kind of production, guarded by George Hill? And Felton’s defense on Paul Pierce was excellent, but Pierce lacks the quickness Hill and other Felton matchups have for much of the season. Much of the series turns on this duo.
How is Melo’s shoulder, really? Until I see him shooting accurately again, I’m going to be concerned.
Can Tyson Chandler shut down Roy Hibbert? I think he can, and that makes Indiana’s offense awfully one-dimensional.
How long before J.R. Smith returns to his late-season level of play? Don’t forget, three of the four Indiana games took place this season before Smith began attacking the rim with regularity. In the fourth one, Smith didn’t get to the free throw line often, just one attempt. To me, Smith attacking is the fundamental pivot point for the offense.
Amar’e back for Game 3? Okay by me. A potential scorer for when Melo is not on the court is important, particularly if Smith is still struggling. And if he isn’t it means there’s no downtime for Indiana defensively all series long. If Stoudemire struggles, Woodson can pull him. There’s only upside here.
Okay. More later from MSG.