The Knicks lose in South Beach
Playing without Carmelo Anthony, the NY Knicks battled the Miami Heat in South Beach Friday night in front of a late arriving crowd that at times sounded pro-New York. The game was close throughout, as the overmatched the Knicks hit a barrage of three pointers to stay in it before the Heat ultimately pulled away in the 4th quarter, winning by a score of 99-89.
With Melo sitting out due to a variety of ailments, it was clear that the Knicks were going to have to get big performances from a variety of players if they were going to knock off the Heat in their own building. This undertaking became even more daunting once news hit that Heat star guard Dwyane Wade was returning to action after a six game absence. Wade was active and spry in his return, showing no visible signs of rust as he was running all over the court, blocking shots, creating steals, leading fast breaks, and hammering down dunks. His running mate LeBron put on a similar display, and for a while in the first half it appeared they were partaking in a two man slam dunk contest.
The Knicks were able to counteract the brilliance of LBJ/DWade and stay in the game due to their hustle on the defensive end and the aforementioned success they had from beyond the arc. In the 3rd quarter it appeared they had a chance to pull off the upset, as Tony Douglas and Bill Walker were raining in 3’s from all over the court; Walker in particular had a career night of sorts, draining 7 out 10 from long distance.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, their margin of error against a team as skilled as the Heat was very small to begin with, and when those 3’s started missing in the 4th quarter Miami jumped all over them. In addition, Amare and the Knick guards committed a number of turnovers in the final frame that didn’t help their cause. I don’t know what it is about STAT but he always seems to try to dribble the ball right into legions of defenders, and more times than not he ends up losing the ball in traffic.
The Knicks offense was dreadful in the 4th, and when the Heat turned up the defensive intensity it became obvious that D’Antoni’s team wouldn’t be able to overcome the odds on this particular night. As much as Melo has been struggling this season, it’s apparent when he’s out of the lineup that the Knicks don’t really have a go-to guy (which is surprising because just last year Amare more than held his own in this regard) or a player that can create their own shot on a regular basis. STAT is practically unstoppable when has a point guard to work the pick and roll with, but without such a guard to get him the ball in the right spots he seems lost at times.
For whatever reason (and there are plenty), D’Antoni’s renowned offense has been MIA this year. Maybe it due to the shortened training camp and lack of practice time, perhaps Amare/Melo/Chandler just aren’t meshing, or maybe it’s because the Knicks lack a true top-tier point guard to run D’Antoni’s offensive system. Either way, this particular loss drops the Knicks to 7-12. With almost a third of the season in the books, this team needs to start stringing some wins together in a hurry, starting tomorrow night in Houston against the Rockets.
Follow us on Twitter:@PACsSports