INDIANAPOLIS -- Following the Knicks' Game 3 loss to Indiana, center Tyson Chandler stood in front of the microphones and notepads and essentially said to his teammates, "This is your conscience speaking.'' Without naming specific names, Chandler then enumerated the various sins that were committing.
To many ears, it sounded as though Chandler's remarks might be directed at resident superstar Carmelo Anthony, and it certainly served as a window into the soul of a disjointed team.
Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Chandler and Anthony told those same microphones and notepads they resolved any failure to communicate before Game 4, but instead of an inspired performance, the Knicks delivered another clunker, losing, 93-82, to the Pacers to fall into a 3-1 series hole.
In the postgame gloom, Chandler cleared the air regarding his relationship with Anthony, who led the Knicks with 24 points but scored none in the fourth quarter, when he fouled out. "I wasn't directing my comments at Carmelo Anthony; I was directing my comments at the New York Knicks,'' Chandler said.
"Any comment I ever make is for the team. It's not about individuals. If I ever have a problem with Carmelo or anybody else on the team, I'm going to discuss that in-house.''
Asked specifically if he and Anthony spoke, Chandler added, "Absolutely. I pulled Carmelo to the side. First of all, I'm a man. I stand behind my words. But my words weren't directed at him, and I didn't want him to take it like that. I would never want to cause a problem for any of my teammates. That's the last thing we need.''
Anthony expressed no displeasure with Chandler. "We talked,'' he said. "With Tyson, I didn't take it like he was throwing a jab at me. Our offense has been [terrible]. He has a right to say that . . . We're not making shots. It is what it is. Me and Tyson talked and nothing wrong with that.''
Of course, the Knicks have bigger worries than First Amendment issues. In addition to lockdown defense, the Pacers are killing them on the boards. Chandler finished with solid numbers, including 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, but the Pacers dominated points in the paint, 36-26, and had a whopping 54-36 rebounding advantage.
"They're pinning their ears back,'' Chandler said of the Pacers. "It's not just one or two guys. If they're going to send five guys, we've got to get fast- break points to slow them down, but we haven't been able to capitalize on it.''
It's a bleak scenario for the Knicks heading to Game 5 Thursday night at the Garden. "I expect us to keep fighting,'' Chandler said. "The series isn't over until one team wins four games. Our back's against the wall. We've got to protect our home floor and go from there.''