Sometimes, the other team is just better.
The Knicks played hard tonight, but bad defense and a subpar game from Carmelo Anthony weren’t going to get the job done against the defending champion Heat. Miami won by 15 points, behind a combined 52 points from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
From the get-go, the Knicks had no answer for Miami’s offense, allowing 29 points in the first quarter. New York had won four straight coming into tonight, but they still haven’t figured things out on defense, they were just out-scoring bad opponents. Miami was able to get to the rim at will tonight and finished the game shooting 54% from the floor.
The two teams played about even the second and third quarters. Woodson went with a few bigger lineups – most notably the Melo-Kenyon-Tyson trio in the second quarter – and they didn’t kill the Knicks, although they didn’t do much to really propel them ahead, either.
In the fourth, Norris Cole scored 6 points, one of the baskets being a skyhook over Raymond Felton. That’s pretty much all you need to know about that quarter.
The Knicks played hard tonight, but Miami was just flat-out better on both ends of the floor. It’s hard to win when you allow the opponent to shoot 54% from the field, and that’s especially true when you also miss nine free throws and turn the ball over 17 times. Felton’s incompetence really hurt the Knicks tonight, especially on defense. He was totally unable to keep Miami’s guards out of the paint, though he wasn’t the only one, and that really threw the team’s defense out-of-wack. As is usually the case, the Knicks had to over-help way too many times tonight which led to open cutting lanes or open corner threes.
WHAT WENT RIGHT:
- The shooting guards played well offensively. JR Smith has really been playing smart on offense the last few games. He still took a few silly step-backs tonight, but he also hit four threes and made a conscientious effort to drive. JR has been much better after Woodson benched him a few games back. He’s playing much more in control, and when he does that he can be a really useful player.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. continued to play well, scoring 17 points on 8-14 shooting. He’s a dynamo in transition, which he showed off tonight when he shook LeBron for a layup. It was an impressive athletic feat. His defense still has a looooooong way to go, but he’s a rookie. We’ll give him time.
- The Knicks hit 11 threes. Threes are good.
- Chandler looked like he hurt his shoulder in the 3rd quarter, but nothing came of it. HEY YOU, INJURY BUG. YEAH I’M TALKING TO YOU. STAY AWAY FROM TYSON, DAMMIT!
- Melo had 26 on 17 shots tonight. It wasn’t a great game from him as he missed some good looks and had 7 turnovers, but he still was able to get to the line 13 times.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
- Carmelo was especially bad on defense. He was on the wrong end of a first quarter Shane Battier offensive explosion and gave up baskets to other guys while either out of position or not trying. His defense is what keeps him from becoming one of the true elite players in the league. Fans will try and talk that down, but tonight we saw how his bad defense can make it hard to win.
- Without Shumpert, the Knicks had no way of stopping Dwyane Wade. Granted, Shumpert always struggles with Wade too, but he’s by far the Knicks best perimeter defender. The stable of guards they threw out there tonight are all net-negatives on defense and that was apparent all game. As I mentioned earlier, Miami was consistently able to get into the paint which screwed up the entire defense. This isn’t a new issue for the Knicks either, as their perimeter defense has been porous all season. FARTDOG.
- 17 turnovers: Bad.
- 61% free throw shooting: Also bad.
- Raymond Felton: Always bad.
- Raymond Felton tonight: Especially bad.
- Amar’e Stoudemire was back tonight, but only played about five minutes. In a perfect world, he’d play no more than 5-10 minutes every game, but we know that’s probably not going to happen. With Woodson choosing to go big tonight, for some godforsaken reason, I fear that he’ll go back to playing Stoudemire and Bargnani big minutes upon both guys being healthy. Related: I don’t like Mike Woodson.
- Pablo hit a bank three after the shot clock went off, but it should’ve counted anyways because Pablo is a god and everyone loves him.
- Woody Allen was sitting courtside tonight. I did not like that.
- LeBron hit a Dirk-esque fadeaway to put the dagger in the Knicks. He is really an unbelievable basketball player. I thought he was a bit passive at times tonight, but he still finished with 30 points. Watching him truly is amazing because it never looks like he’s going out of his way to score. His passing is also spectacular, especially to the corners. With the Knicks leaving a bunch of corner shooters open – because why would you want to cover the corners? It’s not like those are ultra-efficient shots or anything – LeBron had some awesome awesome passes tonight. That guy is fun to watch.
- Carmelo is ready for the Super Bowl:
Well there you have it folks. The Knicks aren’t as good as Miami and that was evident tonight. They play the mighty Bucks on Monday and then Portland on Wednesday. Enjoy the Super Bowl tomorrow and go Seahawks!
This is still the best thing ever: