|Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images|
For awhile though, it was exciting. Amar'e Stoudemire looked like he might have a breakout game (he didn't), Carmelo looked ready to duel Lebron (he more or less didn't), and the Knicks looked like they were going to give the Heat a challenge. Make no mistake, this game was a measuring stick, and the Heat knew it. They weren't going to have mercy, and they had the look that they would do whatever it took to win. For a slowly-recovering, pretty much newly found Knicks team, they just weren't ready.
Jump for some thoughts
That Was Good!
- Amar'e Stoudemire had a stronger first half than we've seen for most of the last two to three weeks. He still doesn't have the spring or quickness that we're used to, but early on he drained his jumpers, took Chris Bosh off the dribble for baseline flush, and generally made sure to at least come away with a foul when driving to the hoop. He had a ridiculous
- J.R. Smith probably had the best game of the bunch, really. Smith had a lot of success taking his man off the dribble and hitting some fade-away bank shots, or at least getting to the FT line. His defense and passing continue to impress too. On defense, he was mismatched with Lebron a few times and drew an offensive foul and a steal, which were both pretty cool. His backdoor, no-look pass to Carmelo Anthony was pretty neat too, even though the game was all but wrapped up at that point.
- Steve Novak hit 4-5 from downtown, but the Heat adjusted to his rangy ways, and that pretty much ended that. His defense and rebounding was pretty abysmal in this one though, and it reminded us why he doesn't get more time.
That Wasn't So Good
- As Reggie Miller pointed out (and I amazingly agreed with), Tyson Chandler did not read the scouting report on Chris Bosh. He allowed him to go left for some smooth running hooks, and gave him some open mid-range Js. Bosh was actually probably the biggest Knick killer in this one.
- I'm not saying the Knicks would have won, but it could have been a lot closer if they had the legs to get some of the loose balls. A defensive stops were ransacked when they either all watched the rebound corral into a member of the Heat's arms, or on poke-aways where they just kind of let the Heat regather themselves. Probably a fatigue thing, but it definitely hurt them.
- Jeremy Lin had the game that people were waiting for. Lin just didn't have it going in this one. It started off pretty badly when Mario Chalmers just stole the ball or tipped it away from Lin in isolation situations. Joel Anthony (who is an excellent defender), hounded Lin on some traps, and he just couldn't respond. As Reggie Miller also pointed out (holy shit), this might have been a blessing in disguise for Lin as maybe the media storm will calm down and he can focus on basketball a little more. 8 points, 1-11 shooting, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 8 turnovers tonight.
Odds and Ends
- Melo was kind of neither here nor there. People will point to his 7-20 shooting, and some poorly timed isolations, but that wasn't that much of an issue. He started to shake the rust off (and had a lot of success going to the rim, despite his 5 blocked attempts). The Knicks just couldn't get a whole lot against Miami's defense, so if Melo wants to take Lebron mono-y-mono, so be it.
- Baron Davis is still one rusty trombone out there, but he's moving nicely, and his handle looks pretty insane. When he gets a feel for the ball and his shot, he will be deadly off the bench. Mark my words.
- Reggie Miller called Mario Chalmers "Chario Malmers" at one point, so ha!
Well, the Knicks get a much-needed break from playing sports over the next week. Hopefully they'll get some practice time during that stretch or else I'll make them run suicides! But really... practice, guys. Everybody enjoy the All-Star festivities, and may our team come back in good health. Go Knicks!