Heat 104, Knicks 94

New York Knicks 94 Final
Recap | Box Score
104 Miami Heat
Carmelo Anthony, SF 45 MIN | 12-26 FG | 6-9 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 30 PTS | -11

Sometimes a good classmate clowning is good for the soul – and the will. After a truly putrid performance in Game 1, Melo came out the tunnel a man possessed in the Second Act, all but duct taping his tepid teammates to shoulders. The shot selection itself left a lot to be desired – once again, way too heavy a reliance on two-or-three-dribble pull-ups from 18-20 feet – but at least #7 didn’t treat the paint like a lake of kryptonite.

Brass tacks, the Knicks needed all of Melo’s hoists. But it’s also clear that getting his will come at the expense of an increasingly stagnant offense; one whose tendencies the Heat are absorbing and learning like a pack of rabid Raptors. This shit keeps up, we’ll be issuing 2012 Report Cards by next Monday.

Amare Stoudemire, PF 41 MIN | 6-9 FG | 6-9 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 18 PTS | -9

The beauty of basketball often goes beyond the abilities and talents of a given player, and into the deeper question of how that player can be put in the best position to succeed. I’ve been tooting the Sixth-Man-Stat horn for a while now, mainly because I think he excels as the focal point of a faster-paced, smaller second unit. Unfortunately, Woody just doesn’t see it that way, as evidenced by his propensity for tethering Stat to Melo in extended stretches. His name was once again little more than short for Statuesque on the defensive end, with ‘E lazily getting back in transition and thenceforth lost amidst the Heat’s Hit-the-Open-Man sets.

The result was a truly forgettable performance that – while peppered by a few violent dunks and flashes of interest – threw into high relief how far Stat has truly fallen from mid-aught glory. Three years, $65 million to go.

Tyson Chandler, C 33 MIN | 6-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | -7

I might be alone here, but it seems to me that not eating for three days and ending your Saturday on a hotel IV drip indicates either A) You’re half-way through a peyote trip with Jim Morrison, or B) you were clearly ill and probably shouldn’t have been allowed to make your own bowl of Corn Flakes, let alonw play in a professional basketball game. Two days later, and Chandler – while clearly not at 100% — had a noticeable pep about his step. His minutes were understandably limited, his energy — typically the fountain from which the ‘Bockers feast — ditto. After his two ferocious second quarter dunks briefly brought the Knicks to the brink of confidence, #tysonflugame became a real possibility. Alas, it was not to be.

Baron Davis, PG 27 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 12 PTS | -5

We knew Baron’s back had been tensing up since Saturday’s voodoo séance, and all things considered he wasn’t a complete disaster — although a pair of ridiculous shot clock-beating threes probably skewed the results a smidge. But it’s on the defensive end in particular that Baron’s age-wear is so glaring as to be translucent. Against an opponent whose relative youth, zeal and zest render them their own laser light show, being five years removed from your career apex starts to feel more like fifty.

Landry Fields, G 18 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -15

Landry, meet Dwyane. He’ll be eating your face now. Ah ah ah ah ah! Don’t struggle! Just sit back and enjoy it! It’ll hurt less that way. Who knows, he might even put you in his next T-Mobile commercial!….. Probably he’ll just digest your face and fart it out later.

Mostly I just feel bad for Landry, a guy who seems so confident and cocksure off court, but who has an alarming tendency to turn to smoke when pitted against the big boys on the block.

Mike Bibby, PG 21 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | -5

After a promising first half in which he…. scored…. Bibby spent most of the rest of the contest coffin-nailed. As with his aforementioned junior, I just feel bad for the guy. Not because he’s any more of a liability than Baron Davis or – gulp – Toney Douglas. Rather, it really brings my piss to a boil watching a veteran of 14+ years, many of them near All-Star caliber, sit idly by as Dwyane Wade picks up his left foot and tosses it out of bounds with absolutely no repercus….. That was just his shoe? Oh. That’s good.

In all seriousness, I can’t help but stare over and over at the 0 turnover stat — really, he’s pretty good about taking care of the ball — and think he has to be providing something the other points simply aren’t…. And then I remember that he really isn’t and can’t, because he’s less capable of driving to the cup than an alcoholic grandmother.

Jared Jeffries, PF 4 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +1

Who else had Charles Smith acid flashbacks?

Steve Novak, SF 21 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -2

His 1-3 night, two-turnvoer night notwithstanding, Novak — amazingly — is one of the few guys who doesn’t look totally flustered when he catches the ball (he’s 3-5 on tries from deep so far in the series). Melo in particular needs to do a better job of hitting Kaine in stride near the top of the key off of elbow isos, although Miami’s done a stellar job of making sure they’re committing a half-decent defender to Novak whenever he’s on the floor.

Which is going a really long way to to say that I just don’t fuckin know anymore…

J.R. Smith, SG 31 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 13 PTS | +3

Prior to the series, I posited that Earl’s bench production was tantamount to New York’s success in the series. Thus far, J.R. — seemingly genetic restless chucks aside — has managed to pull his weight. On offense, anyway. On defense, Smith got lost on far too many screens and cuts, mostly while guarding D-Wade or LBJ.

But so did / does Landy. Which begs the question: At what point does Woodson see it fit to start J.R.? Yes, that leaves our bench Austin Daye-thin. But the dude logged like 90 minutes a game in China; it’s not like he doesn’t have the stamina. Sure, the thought of the damage J.R. Smith can do given 36 minutes of playing time horrifies me more than a nuclear Ireland. But that doesn’t mean it’s not the prudent route.

Five Things We Saw

  1. A quick glance at the number reveals a bevy of surprising outcomes in favor of the Knicks, with rebounding (40-33, including 12-7 on the offensive glass), limited turnovers (only 13, below their season average, and far below the 24 coughed up in Saturday’s crap fest); and pace-keeping shooting (49% to Miami’s 52%) being chief among them. Where Miami pulled away was A) from distance (9 treys to the ‘Bockers’ 5), and B) on the stripe (27 attempts to New York’s 19).
  2. The Heat scored nearly half (50/104) of their points in the paint. Why? Because they’re one of the most aggressive tin-ward driving team in recent memory, and their wings know how to pass on the run. What results is open shot after open shot, which — even when the slinger firing is known to be streaky — makes the odds much more favorable that they connect.
  3. As Tom Haberstroh pointed out yesterday, before Iman Shumpert’s tragic season-ending injury, Wade was actually scoring at a much higher clip with Shump on the floor than off. Which, OK. But I say go ahead and file that one under “misleading stats.” The Knicks missed Shumps intensity, aggressiveness, profuse sweat bordering on a thyroid issue, all of it — and on both ends of the floor. Now, with Amar’e poised to join the ranks of the fallen, the Knicks’ season is quickly morphing into some kind of twisted 21st century reenactment of the siege of the Alamo — the Fess Parker version, where Melo’s left swinging his rifle as wave after wave of freedom-hating Mexicans (the Heat…. work with me) storm at him bayonets-a-blazin’…. Maybe that’s why I have such awful issues with defeat: I spent half my childhood watching my heroes get murdered.
  4. LATE BREAKING NEWS: Apparently Amar’e Stoudemire, upon entering the visitor’s locker room, punched a fire extinguisher and lacerated his hand. He’s been ruled out of Thursday’s game, and probably the rest of the series.

    …. Now, I’m not a doctor. In fact, there are few people in the world I’d be less inclined to take medical advice from than myself. That being said, the following is a list of locker room fodder better suited to absorb the punch of you, six-time NBA All-Star power forward: Door of locker; door leading to locker room; door leading to bathroom; jersey on hanger; can of Tenactin; toilet head; toilet seat; face of Josh Harrellson; air; duffel bag; punching bag from training room; own balls; own face; own pectoral; pair of shoes; stream of shower water; carpeted floor.

    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

  5. It’s easy to delude oneself into believing that Stat’s sudden, blood-drenched departure means a return to the halcyon days of winning with Melo at the four. But that’s probably far too simplistic an answer. Miami has the bodies, the speed, the quickness, and — most of all — the communicative camaraderie, to figure out how to Make Melo work for his. Whether or not they can actually stop him is a question of a far different stripe — and if his 42-point Garden performance (whilst playing power forward, no less) is any indication, maybe they can’t. We hope they can’t. We pray they can’t, even, because that’s all we really have left, at this point.

ESPN 5 on 5: Knicks-Heat, Game 2

We had so much fun talking ‘Bockers-‘Eat for Game 1, we decided to do it again!

In other, somewhat breaking news, Tyson — who “has been eating” for the first time in like five days — will start tonight, as will Baron Davis (sore back) and Landry Fields, who re-replaces Iman Shumpert at shooting guard.

Also, it’s apparently storming down in Miami, which clearly means the Gods hate the Heat and will hand us this game. That’s how this shit works.

Anyway, check out the 5-on-5, and let me know if you think I’m bat-guano-crazy.

Knicks Morning News (Monday, Apr 30 2012)

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Playoffs — Knicks’ Hopes Ride on Carmelo Anthony (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 06:33:28 GMT)

    The Knicks are so bruised and depleted that in Game 2, their only sure thing is Carmelo Anthony, and he struggled to score 11 points in Game 1.

  • [New York Times] On Pro Basketball: Pat Riley’s Presence Is Still Felt if Not Heard (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 05:07:22 GMT)

    Once a grand N.B.A. philosopher, Pat Riley has transitioned into a spiritual Buddha, lurking but elusive in his commanding role as Heat president.

  • [New York Times] Sports of The Times: Michael Jordan, Owner, Could Learn from Michael Jordan, Player (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 09:03:58 GMT)

    For Michael Jordan, turning around the Charlotte Bobcats, the most futile team in N.B.A. history, will require better decisions and better teamwork.

  • [New York Times] Bulls Try to Remain Positive After Losing Derrick Rose (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 05:04:29 GMT)

    The absence of the star point guard Derrick Rose, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament Saturday, is a blow to the Bulls’ bid for their first title since 1998.

  • [New York Times] Knicks’ Jeremy Lin Reports Soreness in Knee (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 05:00:11 GMT)

    Jeremy Lin, who is coming back from knee surgery, ruled out playing in the Knicks’ next two playoff games against the Heat, and was skeptical about Game 4.

  • [New York Times] Clippers 99, Grizzlies 98: Clippers Rally From 27 Down to Stun Grizzlies, 99-98 (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 05:39:40 GMT)

    Chris Paul hit a pair of free throws with 23.7 seconds left, and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied from 27 down to beat the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday night.

  • [New York Times] Clippers’ Lose Butler to Broken Hand for 4-6 Weeks (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 06:33:33 GMT)

    The Los Angeles Clippers enjoyed a stunning come-from-behind victory over Memphis in the first round of the NBA playoffs on Sunday but it came at a high price as forward Caron Butler suffered a broken left hand and could miss 4-6 weeks.

  • [New York Times] Clippers Rally to Tame Grizzlies, Hawks Down Celtics (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 05:43:02 GMT)

    The Los Angeles Clippers rallied from a 27-point deficit to stun the Memphis Grizzlies 99-98 in Game One of their first-round playoff series.

  • [New York Times] Rondo Tirade Could Be Mean Double-Loss for Celtics (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 07:43:29 GMT)

    Talk about a tough playoff opener for the Boston Celtics.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: 2012 N.B.A. Playoffs — Determined Spurs Top Jazz (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 05:09:52 GMT)

    The top-seeded Spurs beat the Jazz in Game 1 of their first-round series, their first win in a first-round Game 1 in four years.

  • [New York Times] Roundup | Game 1: Lakers 103, Nuggets 88: N.B.A. Playoffs — Lakers Open With Rout of Nuggets (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 06:37:56 GMT)

    Denver has never beaten the Lakers in the playoffs, and Game 1 offered no reason to expect otherwise.

  • [New York Times] F Caron Butler Out With Broken Left Hand (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 05:45:39 GMT)

    Clippers forward Caron Butler broke his left hand Sunday in Game 1 of Los Angeles’ series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

  • [New York Times] Smith Leads Hawks Past Celtics 83-74; Rondo Tossed (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 03:30:41 GMT)

    The Boston Celtics lost Game 1 — and they may have lost their floor leader for Game 2.

  • [New York Daily News] It’s not the time or team for Linsanity’s return (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 05:26:57 GMT)

    A day after they scored 67 points and were outclassed in every way imaginable by the Miami Heat in their playoff opener, the Knicks allowed Jeremy Lin to speak to the media.

  • [New York Daily News] Linsanity still on hold for Knicks (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 04:12:00 GMT)

    Linsanity to the rescue? Carmelo Anthony isn’t expecting nor is he advising Jeremy Lin to attempt a comeback against the Miami Heat.”No,â? Anthony said. “We don’t want him to rush it. I’ve seen situations like that before. That’s something we do not want.â?

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks feel Heat as playoff drought continues (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 04:07:06 GMT)

    Eleven years have now come and gone for the Knicks without a single playoff win, a streak of futility that has them on the cusp of NBA history, the wrong kind of history.

  • [New York Daily News] Melo: TimeALL to chill out vs. Heat (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 02:03:02 GMT)

    To confuse Carmelo Anthony, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra dispatched two, three defenders, denying the ball and limiting all options. Shane Battier and LeBron James fronted him at times and pushed him at others.

  • [New York Post] Melo insists Knicks â?? despite injuries, illness â?? can take Heat (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 04:07:15 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? It’s playoff déjà-boo-hoo for the Knicks, destroyed again by illnesses, injuries, bad luck and bad shooting in the first round.
    With Tyson Chandler still ravaged by the flu and missing yesterday’s practice, Iman Shumpert’s devastating knee injury and Baron Davis’ bad back, the Knicks appear on…

  • [New York Post] Woodson would be wise to get team to wake up (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 03:42:49 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? Mike Woodson understands nobody is inclined to feel sorry for him. Iman Shumpert, his best athlete, busted up a knee? Tough. Tyson Chandler, the Knicks’ defensive backbone and emotional foundation, can’t shake the flu? Too bad. Baron Davis’ back looks like one of those soft pretzels you buy…

  • [New York Post] LeBron determined to become NBA champ (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 04:18:13 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? Someone asked LeBron James yesterday if the aggressive pick Tyson Chandler slammed into him with during Saturday’s playoff opener gave the Heat star added inspiration.
    “I’m already an inspired basketball player,â? James said. “I don’t need a hit to get me inspired.â?
    That inspiration comes from…

  • [New York Post] Woodson hopes Shumpert’s a fast healer (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 04:12:13 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson said he’s hopeful rookie Iman Shumpert can beat the timetable and be available for the start of October’s training camp, and Amar’e Stoudemire vowed he will help the Knicks rookie defensive guard with rehab.
    Saturday was a sad turn of events…

  • [New York Post] Chandler still ails from flu (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 04:12:13 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? Tonight’s auxiliary scoreboard could read: Flu 2, Tyson Chandler 0.
    The Knicks center was a game-time decision for Game 1 Saturday against the Heat, and although Chandler played with the flu, he admitted to being dazed and weak. And not surprisingly, he performed as such in the Knicks…

  • [New York Post] Heart of â??D’ Heat (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 04:12:13 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? They are South Beach glitz and glamour, possessing that flashy hi-tech offense, forged around LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
    But peel away the pizzazz and flash from the Heat and at the core you’ll find a lunch pail and a hardhat, universal symbols of the hard-working man. And…

  • [New York Post] Lin’s aim: Game 4 (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 03:53:55 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? Will there be Linsanity Sunday at the Garden?
    Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin said it was possible he could return for Sunday’s Game 4 as he confirmed he is aiming now to play against the Heat instead of waiting for a second round that probably won’t come…

  • [New York Post] Landry set to step into Iman’s role (Mon, 30 Apr 2012 00:08:21 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? Landry Fields clapped his hands after the Heat were called for a 24-second clock violation early in Saturday’s second quarter. Part of that was because of his defense on Dwyane Wade.
    In Game 1’s disastrous loss, Fields was one of the Knicks’ brighter spots â?? especially considering how…

  • Knicks Morning News (Sunday, Apr 29 2012)

  • [ESPN.com – New York Knicks] Baron suffers back injury (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 06:00:43 EDT)

    Baron Davis’ back is acting up again.
    Davis said his back was stiff going into halftime after he ran into a few screens in the first half.
    “The collision put my back in shock, but I should be alright for Monday,” said Davis, who scored ten points in the first half.
    Davis also said the Knicks need to stay composed in Game 2 on Monday.
    Carmelo Anthony and Mike Woodson received technicals for complaining about foul calls. Amare Stoudemire was upset with officials after he was whistled for his third.

  • [New York Daily News] Lupica: King rules court (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 06:34:14 GMT)

    LeBron James is the biggest star and the best player and that is why he is facing more pressure in this NBA postseason than anybody in his sport has ever faced, moving up on two years since he had his “Decision.”

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks can’t stand the Heat, lose in a rout (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 05:53:20 GMT)

    The Knicks playoff losing streak has now reached 11 straight games and that may be the least of Mike Woodson’s problems in the aftermath of Miami’s dominating 100-67 victory on Saturday.

  • [New York Daily News] Shumpert out for season with torn ACL and meniscus (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 04:48:56 GMT)

    Iman Shumpert’s promising rookie season ended on Saturday when prematurely when the Knicks starting shooting guard suffered a torn left ACL and meniscus in the second half of the Knicks 100-67 Game 1 loss to the Heat.

  • [New York Daily News] With Chandler sick, Knicks are ill-equipped (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 04:28:40 GMT)

    First it was the flu that disoriented Knicks center Tyson Chandler, the team’s steadiest player. Then came the Heat, charging hard into the lane toward him and then eliminating his routes to the rim on offense.

  • [New York Daily News] Anthony and Knicks look shot against Heat (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 04:24:55 GMT)

    Only Derrick Rose had a worse day than the Knicks. Rose is done for the playoffs, a victim of a catastrophic knee injury, and the Chicago Bulls’ run at an NBA title is done after only one game.

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks’ Shumpert could be out till December (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 04:21:34 GMT)

    Iman Shumpert’s promising rookie season ended prematurely on Saturday when the Knicks’ starting shooting guard suffered a torn left ACL and meniscus in the second half of a 100-67 Game 1 loss to the Heat. The knee injury, which will require surgery, will sideline Shumpert for 6-to-8 months, the Knicks announced.

  • [New York Times] NBA Playoffs | Game 1: Heat 100, Knicks 67: N.B.A. Playoffs — Heat Have Little Trouble With Knicks (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 05:17:18 GMT)

    Miami’s LeBron James scored 32 points in just three quarters, and the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony barely broke double digits in scoring as the Heat won the first game of the series.

  • [New York Times] On Pro Basketball: Knicks and Bulls Suffer Differing but Dispiriting Losses (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 05:37:21 GMT)

    Chicago lost Derrick Rose for the season to a knee injury, but the Knicks also suffered a loss to the psyche, and a convincing one at that.

  • [New York Times] Bulls and Basketball an Obsession for Thibodeau (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 05:10:07 GMT)

    The Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau, last year’s coach of the year, is perhaps the most obsessive person in a profession populated by those proud to be obsessed.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: Bulls Beat Sixers but Lose Derrick Rose to a Torn A.C.L. (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 05:24:07 GMT)

    Derrick Rose, the league’s reigning M.V.P., was helped off the court late with a torn A.C.L. in Chicago’s victory over Philadelphia.

  • [New York Times] Knicks’ Tyson Chandler Loses Battle to Flu and Fatigue (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 06:09:13 GMT)

    Flu-ridden, fatigued and ultimately frustrated, Tyson Chandler could not provide the spark against the Heat, especially on defense, that he did for much of the season.

  • [New York Times] Knicks’ Iman Shumpert Out for Season with Torn Knee Ligament (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 05:37:20 GMT)

    The Knicks guard Iman Shumpert will be out six to eight months after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament and the lateral meniscus in his left knee.

  • [New York Times] Rose Injury Casts Major Cloud Over Bulls Win (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 05:36:46 GMT)

    Chicago and Miami opened the National Basketball Association post-season with comfortable wins on Saturday but the Bulls paid a steep price for their victory when Derrick Rose was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

  • [New York Times] Durant’s Winner Lifts Thunder Past Mavs, 99-98 (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 06:38:16 GMT)

    Kevin Durant was determined to not let the Oklahoma City Thunder lose another playoff game at home to Dallas.

  • [New York Times] Peter Scolari Has 3 Big Roles in ‘Magic/Bird’ (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 05:48:07 GMT)

    Peter Scolari, the actor known for “Bosom Buddies,” plays Red Auerbach, Pat Riley and Jerry Buss in the Broadway show about Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

  • [New York Times] Magic Shock Pacers 81-77 in Game 1 (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 02:54:55 GMT)

    The Orlando Magic entered Indiana’s building as huge underdogs and walked out talking trash.

  • [New York Times] James Scores 32, Heat Roll by Knicks 100-67 (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 01:27:42 GMT)

    LeBron James dropped to the floor holding the back of his head, grimacing and then staggering a bit when he reached his feet.

  • [New York Times] Knicks-Heat Replay: Game 1 (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 00:51:05 GMT)

    A look at Game 1 of the first-round playoff series between the Knicks and the host Miami Heat, won by Miami, 100-67.

  • [New York Post] Knicks’ defense takes step backward in Game 1 blowout (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 02:41:54 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? Now here was something from Miami coach Erik Spoelstra you had to figure you would never hear.
    “It’s documented now their defense is one of the tougher ones in the league,â? Spoelstra said as he prepped his Heat for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first round series…

  • [New York Post] Melo shoots blanks as LeBron, Heat win rout in opener (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 04:46:06 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? A flu-ridden Tyson Chandler was in a back room getting a two-hour IV session. Iman Shumpert was in a Miami hospital getting an MRI exam on his knee â?? his series over, next season’s training camp over, too. Carmelo Anthony spoke in a low, depressing whisper, sending out prayers…

  • [New York Post] All went awry for Knicks in blink of an eye (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 04:52:10 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? It can happen that quickly, tumble that rapidly. One moment you glance at the scoreboard and the Heat are protecting a slim 30-29 lead, there is an uncomfortable murmur creeping through AmericanAirlines Arena, and the Knicks look prepared to dig in and make this a game, make this a…

  • [New York Post] Knicks can’t afford another Melo stinker (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 04:11:36 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? Carmelo Anthony was voted Player of the Month in the NBA for the dazzling numbers he put up in April. Someone should tell him the month isn’t over yet.
    The Knicks’ ugly 100-67 loss to the Heat in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series can’t all be…

  • [New York Post] Lin may return in round 1 (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 04:08:51 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? Linsanity may hit the first round.
    Jeremy Lin, out nearly a month following left knee surgery, may return against the Heat after all, depending on how far the Knicks can extend the opening-round series after yesterday’s devastating 100-67 Game 1 loss.
    With Iman Shumpert out six to eight…

  • [New York Post] World’s Most famous Arena making noise again (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 03:10:00 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? There were so many springs when the old building would lie quiet and still, when nights that should have been filled with the acoustic magic of a big hockey game or a do-or-die basketball game were instead empty and sad.
    It got to the point when you could forget…

  • [New York Post] Flu-ridden Chandler off his game (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 01:55:29 -0500)

    At one point during yesterday’s second quarter, an alley oop pass was thrown in the direction of a flu-ridden Tyson Chandler. The center, normally automatic when on the receiving end of alley-oops, was unable to grab the pass and slam it home.”I felt like I was just kind…

  • [New York Post] LeBron starts his playoffs in style (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 01:19:07 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? Ever since LeBron James’ Finals campaign ended in misery last June, he has waited for a do-over.”I prepared myself all season, through the offseason,â? James said. “So I’m excited and humbled and blessed.â?Add ticked. Because that’s how he certainly appeared yesterday after he took a…

  • [New York Post] Miami’s defense shuts down Anthony (Sun, 29 Apr 2012 01:18:54 -0500)

    MIAMI â?? The memory was all too vivid. Less than two weeks ago, Carmelo Anthony caught the ball where he wanted, when he wanted and then did what he wanted as he scored 42 points for the Knicks against the Heat. “That was not a very good defensive plan by us…

  • Heat 100, Knicks 67

    New York Knicks 67 Final
    Recap | Box Score
    100 Miami Heat
    Carmelo Anthony, SF 34 MIN | 3-15 FG | 5-5 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | -35

    The general consensus was that Melo would have to pull off an epic performance reminiscent of a former Knick All-Star for the ‘Bockers to have a chance in this series. Alas, tonight, he threw up a Starksian 3-15 in lieu of channeling his boyhood Idol King Bernard. Anthony did a solid job on the boards and while the game was close, threw a few nifty passes out of double and triple-teams but all those silky smooth mid range jumpers that he’d been canning for the month of April clanged off the rim with such regularity that it began to sound like an early John Cage percussion piece. Miami was fronting him early and often which seemed to baffle the Knicks. More on this later. Woodson made some 2nd half adjustments to get him the rock, but by that point, it really didn’t matter. Ugh.

    Amare Stoudemire, PF 32 MIN | 2-7 FG | 5-6 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -18

    Some early ‘splosiveness from STAT, but he disappeared after picking up three early fouls (MUCH MORE on this later) and as was the case with Melo, the Knicks were unable to get him the ball either via the pick and roll or off curls. Ugh.

    Tyson Chandler, C 21 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -19

    How sick is Tyson (This isn’t the beginning of a bad joke) He’s so ill that according to the twitter, Chandler’s getting a drip IV for the next 2-4 hours. We’ve gotten so used to Tyson putting in a Herculean effort night in and night out, I think we all assumed he’d shrug off a silly little impediment like the flu but ’twas not the case as he’s clearly suffering from some mutagenically nasty, DPOY-killing virus. Still, SEVEN turnovers? Ugh.

    Baron Davis, PG 17 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -12

    In one of the few bright spots of the day, Beardly had some of his mojo going early, hitting jumpers and turning the corner with more juice than he’s had in weeks. During the fleeting moment when this was a competitive game, he led the Knicks with 10 points. Of course he too got into foul trouble and his back tightened up in the 2nd half. Natch. I’m semi-surprised a grand piano didn’t fall from the rafters of [Corporate Sponsor I can’t recall} Arena and crush Jorts Harrellson, like a bad Laurel and Hardy bit. Ugh.

    Iman Shumpert, G 19 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -28

    Ugh. Biggest Ugh of all. I’d be grant if I could write something vaguely intelligent, make a weird reference or even sling a bad joke, but watching Shump go down just felt like every frustration in life, every gut-wrenching failure, every humiliating indignity, every time a woman ripped my still-beating heart from my chest encapsulated in one agonizing and seemingly eternal second as dropped to the ground as if he’d been hit by a sniper’s bullet and writhed in agonizing pain on the hardwood floor. And now the official word is that Iman Shumpert suffered a torn left ACL and lateral meniscus. He is expected to miss 6-8 months following surgery, according to the team. April is truly the cruelest month. Fuck.

    Mike Bibby, PG 21 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | -8

    I’m even too upset to make any Undead Bibby jokes. Ugh.

    Jared Jeffries, PF 8 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -12

    In a game filled with soul-crushing opprobriums, Jared had his only bucket — a nifty drive on the baseline and layup as the shot clock was winding down — overruled by the refs — a fittingly impish paradigm for the entire sordid affair. Oh, and Jared’s still hampered by his dodgy knee. Ugh.

    Steve Novak, SF 24 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -7

    Novak hit a couple of treys, one important one in the 2nd and one meaningless one as the longest garbage time in recent Knick playoff history wound down. He even guarded his former classmate at Marquette for a few weirdly piquant moments. We also learned that the one human being who loves him some Novakaine more than Knick fans is Jeff Van Gundy, who just couldn’t stop kvelling during the broadcast. It was cute in a, “Isn’t in amusing to watch Jeff Van Gundry let loose a stream of verbal diarrhea after years of awkward, literally tight-lipped, Diet Coke-clenching post game pressers that looked so painfully uncomfortable and devoid of actual information that I semi-suspected JVG might have some form of speech impediment and/or performance anxiety.” Still, if he’s has/had such a crush on our fair-haired boy Steve, it beggars the question == Why didn’t JVG didn’t play him more in Houston? Anyhoo…where was I? Oh right. I remember now. Ugh.

    J.R. Smith, SG 33 MIN | 7-17 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | -20

    One other bright spot, if you can dig a strand of hay out of this colossal pile of razor-sharp needles, is that J.R. is clearly unafraid of the limelight/pressure of the postseason. That’s all well and good, considering how shell-shocked some of his mates were by Miami’s defensive onslaught. We got to see some swell fadeaway twenty-footers and perimeter D, but also a gaggle of shots with plenty o’ time left on the shot clock, another goofily dumb foul on a perimeter shooter because J.R. seems to think that whaling in the general direction of his opponent’s genitalia will lead to some form of positive result and an absurd between the legs pass to Jorts when the ‘Bockers were down 2.8 jillion points or so. You know the old yarn/joke about the old woman and the snake? In brief, n old woman was walking down the road when she saw a gang of thugs beating a poisonous snake. She rescued the snake and carried it back to her home, where she nursed it back to health. They became friends and lived together for many months. One day they were going into town, and the old woman picked him up and the snake bit her. Repeatedly. “O God,” she screamed, “I am dying! Why? I was your friend. I saved your life! I trusted you! Why did you bite me?” The snake looked up at her and said, “Lady, you knew I was a snake when you first picked me up.” (Rim shot)

    In case it isn’t abundantly clear, Knick fans are the old woman and J.R.’s the snake. And this serpent’s going to continue to do his thang, regardless of the fact that an “in-control” J.R. is exactly what the Knicks need if there’s any hope of winning a game in this series. Ugh.

    Landry Fields, G 18 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -6

    Nothing new in today’s game from Landry who had little to no effect on the final outcome. Of course, without Shump, he’s in the starting role again and will likely spend a great deal of time guarding Wade, who has always taken a perverse pleasure in abusing the kid from Stanford like a bully whomping on an emaciated nerd, nearly pummeling him to pulp with said geek’s own violin case/asthma inhaler/Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master Guidebook. Ugh.

    Jerome Jordan, C 4 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -3

    Hi Jerome. Ugh.

    Josh Harrellson, F 9 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +3

    Some garbage time mins for Jorts in which he hit an open jumper and converted a mini-hook. That’s not that the beginning of a hall of fame candidacy but when you consider the fact that he appears to be moving in slow-motion at all times, possibly because he’s wearing Stimpy’s stay-put socks, you gotta be slightly impressed. This is of course, an ancillary issue, considering Master Harrellson’s suddenly become the healthiest center left on the roster. Ugh.

    Five Things We Saw

    1. Let’s get this out of the way early. The refereeing in this game was so execrable it made the WWF look like a legitimate sporting venture. It was so far beyond one-sided, it even led Bill Simmons (who isn’t known to be particularly fond of New York teams, to say the least) to tweet: “I don’t watch rigged NBA games, I’m switching to hockey.”

      If you’d like some numbers to back up the above hyperbole, in the 1st half, the Knicks found themselves on the receiving end of 20 calls to Miami’s 8 and 5 trips to the line versus Miami’s 28. Read that again. 28-5. Some of the more egregious examples included (but were not limited to):

      1. Melo getting manhandled by Shane Battier and/or LeBron on the block to such a degree that I’m fairly certain the latter duo could confidently identify what religion Mr. Anthony with nary a whistle being blown. (On a side note, for a superstar [this isn’t to meant to reopen a prolonged Melo debate. The NBA’s marketers consider him a superstar] it’s amazing how few calls he gets.)

      2. A series of dubious charges, three on Tyson Chandler alone, drawn solely because LeBron et al, clearly logged some serious hours at the Danilo Gallinari School of “I just stepped on a land mine in WWII-era Tunisia” Flopping.

      3. A Flagrant Two (subsequently downgraded to a one) was assessed to Tyson Chandler after LeBron (that scurrilous swine) spent a good deal of time teetering and wobbling around the court like he was the town drunk in a late 20th/early 19th Century Irish Novel. I literally thew a beverage (non-alcoholic) at the wall after this’n.

      4. If you thought his acting in “The Decision” was awful, take a look at how he collapsed like a sack of refined flour after being barely touched by J.R. Smith as the two went after a rebound in the corner.

      And on and on and on. I’ve said this before, but when the refs pull a Donaghy, the effect is greater than costing a single possession. There’s a sense that, “Crap. Not only do we have to defeat this hellish team that’s in The Kraken on vast quantities of amphetamines’ mode, but we have to overcome the bastids in gray too?” Not only does it destroy any confidence a team might have, players start pressing, trying to regain the lead in a single play. I’ve seen it first hand onstage in plays. It’s called, “Saving the show.” One actor tries to rescue a bad collective performance by him or herself and starts overacting and/or hamming it up and ends up making the whole thing even worse. Once things started to go awry, Melo and Smith forced some early shots, a gaggle of panicky turnovers ensued and like a shark smelling blood in the water, LeBron went on a berzerker rampage all adding up to a 24-2 run over the final six minutes of the half that, for all intents and purposes, got the obese female in viking horns to start her vocal warmup.

    2. That said, even with a fair hand from the arbiters, there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell the Knicks win this game. Jim mentioned in his podcast that I actually preferred the Heat to the Bulls. In a nutshell, my rational was that no matter what condition Rose is/was in, you can count on Chicago’s defense, rebounding and superior effort. I also suggested hat Miami wouldn’t choke in a big moment. Well, now that Rose has been lost to the same injury that felled Shump (Saturday was a bad day for Windy City guards), It’s an understatement to say that I might want to reconsider my position at this juncture. LeBron, when he’s fully motivated (and evidently duping the refs into giving one everything and anything one could desire is a powerful motivational tool. If he was hurt on Chandler’s foul I’m a monkey’s uncle.), is an absolute terror. Everything one loathes and admires about Mr. James could bee seen in today’s bitch-slapping of the ‘Bockers — the defense, the whining, the post play, the sense of entitlement, the physical domination. On top of all that, the Knicks were just plain outclassed today. More numbers? They shot 36 percent, the starters had a 45 percent eFG%, they coughed 27 turnovers leading to 38 points off turnovers and they turned the ball over in 23% of their possessions. The 33-point deficit was the fourth-largest margin of defeat in Knicks playoff history and honestly, it wasn’t that close. It’ll be interesting to see how they react on Monday, but this kind of beating, where the Knicks were outmatched in every aspect of play, could certainly cause them to pack up shop. I’m hoping that isn’t the case, but considering the psychic and spiritual trauma that this game inflicted upon me, a mere spectator, it’s going to take some serious (hoary sports cliche ahead) leadership on the part of someone (Melo? STAT? Tyson? Son of Wood? Anyone?) to pull these cats back from the brink.
    3. I can only assume the Knicks are detouring their flight and retreating to some monastery in the Tiger Leaping Gorge near the Yangtzee River. Whilst they pen zen koans, Coach Mister Potato Head might want to cobble together a play or two to get Melo the ball when the heat are fronting him. What about using him in the pick and roll, off curls, stagger screens or via something else that some person who actually knows X’s and O’s could explain. Sebastian Pruiti offeredup a few suggestions here and here. I don’t know if he can be dragooned into an assistant coaching gig in the next 24 hours, but hopefully there’s a different scheme being hatched by the powers that be because right now, it ain’t workin’.
    4. Since I could only come up with four bullet-points between tears, the Great Jim Cavan has this to say — Jim: You think you’re fooling us with the white seat covers on “White Out” night, Miami fans? Nice try. We know those seats are empty. Setting aside for a second the Big Three, people have always hated Miami because Miami’s fans are as loyal and engaged as a cocaine housewife. As such, they showed their true colors emptying en mass at the end of the third quarter and into the swamp-borne streets. Sure the game was in hand. Of course there was no conceivable way the ‘Bockers would somehow claw back into it. But therein lays the rub: To them – or a vast majority of them at least – the game isn’t art, jazz, or a high-speed chess match. Hell, it’s not even a game. It’s a show, a place to see and be seen. Which is why I pray the hardwood Yahweh imparts wrath akin to last year’s. Doesn’t matter when, although Game 6 in the Garden is still my personal pick.
    5. And finally. y’all have seen the movie, “Annie Hall,” right? As a young Semite growing up on Ye Olde Upper West Side-e, it we studied said film and memorized its axioms with the fervor of a Talmudic scholar so pardon me if it isn’t as hard-wired into your cerebrum, dear reader. There’s a scene that comes to mind today.

      I feel that life is divided up into the horrible and the miserable. Those are the two categories, you know. The horrible are like, um, I don’t know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me. You know, and the miserable is everyone else. So you should be thankful that you’re miserable, because you’re very lucky, to be miserable.

      Yeah. Well, today we got both. But the point I’d like to make is this (even hoarier cliche ahead)…it’s only a game. We as sports fans (okay definitely me as a sports fan) tend to see these brutal defeats as encapsulating all of the injustices of the world. In theory, a few hours in front of the tube watching (back to Annie Hall again), “A bunch of pituitary cases run around in their underwear.” should alleviating one’s suffering or at least provide a respite from one’s own multitudinous, seemingly unsolvable problems. Far from it. Alas, when the Knicks lose, all of the things that infuriate us (again, possibly only me) are made the more present and palpable. It may be different for you. You may actually see a gallingly painful defeat, as brutish as today’s was, where insult was literally added to injury and we even had to stomach a poseur like Chris Bosh giggling like a petulant child/ether-soaked madman in the closing seconds, as oddly cathartic or at least a kind of perverse escapist joy. It just ain’t that way for your humble correspondent. So I’m going to try something different. I’m going to try to watch the rest of this series with a bemused disinterest. I’m going to see if I can actual just watch but not let it be the be all and the end all of my emotional well-being. It’s just too draining. I say this not to unpack my psychological wares in front of all y’all, but hopefully to offer another way or a way out to those who are hurting. I don’t know if it’s possible to be a fan (short for fanatic, after all) and not to feel every missed shot and turnover and godawful play like a paper cut to one’s eyelid, but I’m going to try. Roger Kann, in The Boys of Summer, described rooting for the equally doom- struck Brooklyn Dodgers: “We stand in front of a mirror, naked, hearing laughter that includes our own.” Well, I’ve been spending far too much time crying at what I see in that deep, dark truthful mirror and it’s time to change. Maybe it’s possible to laugh at the terrible ridiculousness of it all. It is, after all, just a game. Right?