Even though the Heat were 3-8 in their last 11 road games, the Knicks defense could not contain Dwayne Wade or LeBron James, as they lost 93-85 to the Heat. Wade and James combined for 57 of the Heat’s 93 points.
The Knicks were able to stay with the Heat for the first three quarters but their defense could not keep up the intensity in the fourth as the Heat used an 18-3 run to come away with the win.
However, the Knicks likely would have had a great chance to win the game if they would not have gone 14-23 from the free throw line. Baron Davis, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler were actually the only players that went to the line, but Davis and Chandler went a combined 1-8.
Another major reason that the Knicks came up short against the Heat, who currently have the second best record in the Eastern Conference, is that they got outrebounded 47-33. On the glass, the Heat were led by Chris Bosh (14), James (10) and Dwayne Wade (9).
Nobody on the Knicks finished with double digit rebounds, but Melo had nine and JR Smith pulled down seven during his solid overall game. Smith also contributed 16 points, three steals and two assists, but it was all downhill for the Knicks after he posed for the crowd after he helped give the team a four-point lead in the fourth.
In order to win four of their six games to end the season, like they are capable of, the Knicks will need a few more players to step up besides Melo. He was ready for his first game against the Heat at MSG as he scored 42 points (14-27), with nine rebounds and five assists, but in order to beat the Celtics they will need more than two players in double figures.
Baron Davis continued his strong play from the win over the Wizards as he had a shake and bake move leading to a short jumper helping the Knicks pull within three, 10-7.
However, the Knicks did not play tenacious defense after that score as the Heat would go onto take an 18-7 lead, led by 10 early points from Wade. The Knicks only shot 33 percent up until this point, with 4:45 remaining.
Landry Fields made an extra pass to JR Smith (16 points), who made a wide open 3-pointer from the top of the key to reduce the Heat’s lead to eight points, 23-15. Smith can be very reliable when he has space and Fields usually knows how to make the right play. He followed that with another 3-pointer, this time a little more contested, as he is proving how much of a weapon that he can be.
Anthony was once again the scoring for the Knicks in the first quarter as he finished with 14 points, including six free throws, as he is the reason that the Knicks finished the first quarter only down by seven. The Knicks will need to play more effective defense as the Heat shot 55 percent in the first 12 minutes.
Bibby was the first guard off the bench as Davis played most of the first quarter. Novak made his first 3 with 7:20 remaining to make the score 31-27. He is the best shooter from long range percentage wise in the league and they will need him to continue to make his shots.
Baron Davis was guarding LeBron James with about 4:20 remaining in the quarter and this should not continue. There is no way that Davis can contain him. However, on the other side of the floor, Davis made a Steve Nash like pass to a cutting Chandler for an easy lay-up, to give the Knicks a 36-35 lead.
The Knicks were tied with the Heat, 44-44, but the Heat made three free throws to end the half to give them the lead. The refs called a questionable foul on Jared Jeffries. Melo continued his best month as a Knick as he had 22 points (7-13), seven rebounds and three assists. He led the Knicks in all of those categories in the first two quarters.
The Knicks played better defense in the second quarter since the Heat shot 55 percent in the first, but for the half they only shot 43 percent from the field.
The Knicks were able to smartly attack the Heat as Wade and Haslem both had three fouls after a few minutes had gone by. Two minutes later James would pick up his third foul.
At that point, the Heat only had a four point lead. The Knicks need to continue their aggressiveness to force James and Wade to the bench.
The refs called a ridiculous offensive foul on Shumpert, as James Jones flopped to the ground, right before Shumpert passed to Novak. The 3-pointer that Novak made would have cut the Heat’s lead to three.
After a review, Chandler was called for a flagrant foul as James was driving to the basket. This was a questionable call, which led to a free throw and the ball for the Heat, but James will always have a call go his way.
Smith made a clutch 3-pointer (his fourth of the game) with three seconds left in the third to bring the Knicks back within three.
Woodson called a perfect play as the fourth quarter began, as Novak made a 3-pointer to tie the game.
There was a 12-point turnaround as the Knicks were up by five and then a few minutes later the Knicks defense evaporated as the Heat would go up by seven points led by jumpers by Wade and James.
Shumpert, who leads the league in fourth quarter steals, had two in the quarter.
However, the Heat went on an 18-3 run, lead by the scoring of Wade and James. The improved defense that the Knicks have displayed could not limit the two superstars.
After the completion of the game against the Heat, the Knicks now have a two game lead over the Bucks for eight place, are half a game behind the 76ers for seventh place and are 3.5 games behind the Magic for sixth place.
It is definitely possible that they can catch the Magic since they are without Dwight Howard for the rest of the regular season. The Magic play the Cavs later today and then the Bobcats on the 25th and those are probably the only wins they will get out of their seven remaining games.
The next game against the Celtics is a very important one because Boston has won five out of their last six and it is important that the Knicks only lose two games (or less) the rest of the way to increase their odds of avoiding the Bulls or Heat in the first round.