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Monday, January 27, 2020

2015-16 Game Thread: Knicks vs Heat

I know this is supposed to be about tonight’s game and to get us all started talking about it, but I would be remiss not to begin this article with a nod to Steph “Galactus” Curry, Devourer of Worlds. I know it’s not easy to watch a Saturday night game, because that’s when a lot of us are out and not paying attention to television, but I hope you got the chance to watch this one live. I got home with about 6 minutes left in the 4th and from there, it was incredible. When I saw Steph in person this year, he had 51 against the Wizards in DC, and it was a spectacle to behold. I can’t imagine being an OKC fan and watching that 40-footer being launched as the last seconds dripped off the clock in agonizing slow-motion. We all knew the shot was in the second he recognized he had some space after crossing halfcourt, stopped, and pulled up to shoot it. It’s downright absurd to believe 100% that a shot from that distance is going to fall, but that’s the world we live in now, and Steph is still bending the rules of this new alternate basketball universe. Twitter very nearly exploded in the minutes that followed, and rightfully so. That shot was the reason I always try to watch Golden State games, rearranging my schedule like a doctor trying to go on vacation.

On to more pressing matters. Oh LOOK, our old friends from every playoff series in the late ’90s, the “It’s 76 degrees here, chumps!” beach-picture-taking trolls who come out when they see our snow-soaked streets. The Miami Cheat (I’ll never forget the 2006 Finals, also known as the D-Wade Free Throw Parade. Screw you, David Stern) lost yesterday in a weird 3 PM game in Boston. NBA teams aren’t used to playing at that time of day, and it showed early. Both teams took most of the 1st quarter to start playing with any rhythm, and eventually the Heat were escorted out of the Boston Garden with a humbling loss to the team directly above them in the Eastern Conference Standings.

The Heat come to another famous garden tonight, as they face our beloved Kristerblockers tonight at MSG. The Heat continue to be without The Babadook Chris Bosh, who has another blood clot scare to deal with, which in all seriousness I hope is resolved soon and he will be okay. Bosh is a great player who is underappreciated and I’ve always enjoyed him, and he is one of the NBA’s more unique personalities. Look for some of his interviews, the guy stands out among his peers in terms of just plain being interesting.

the babadook

The Heat still bring plenty of talent with them, though. Dragic, Wade, Whiteside, Winslow and Deng provide plenty of Umph, and the Heat are about to add Joe Johnson’s reanimated corpse. If Bosh can be medically cleared to return this year, the Heat have a roster capable of doing puppy-left-alone-for-the-first-time type damage in the playoffs, and a 2nd-round date with Toronto (or Cleveland, should Toronto take the 1 seed, a possibility becoming more probable by the day) would be appointment viewing.

Since Kurt Rambis took over just before the All-Star break, the Knicks are 2-4 (and could have won in their typically heartbreaking one-possession losses against the Wizards and Pacers), improving Rambis’ gaudy coaching record to 58-149 in his career. To be fair, he did inherit the Timberwolves after they traded Garnett and began rebuilding, but he is still laughed at by Minnesota fans. Ask any long-suffering T-Wolves fan how they feel about Rambis and you’re strapping yourself in for a 12 minute rant complete with physical threats and deep-seeded hopes for various maladies to befall Mr. Rambis, as they would snidely refer to him, denying him the title of Coach at all. Thus far, he has talked the talk to the media. He seems to be trying really hard at the fire-them-up motivator style of coaching, and some of his language is creeping into his players’ vernacular. Melo was quoted by the New York Times as saying,

“The connection that he’s [Rambis] talking about, if somebody gets beat you have their back; if that person gets beat, you have their back,” Anthony said. “Everybody’s on this train. A lot of time recently, we haven’t been connected as a team like that. I thought tonight we did a better job of being connected.” – New York Times

Though I now see it as a Fool’s hope, Rambis remains committed to trying to reach the Playoffs. He says the word in every interview, constantly trying to impress on the team to think like a winning team. That’s all well and good, because thinking is the first step toward acting, but the team really needs more than a sports movie cliche style motivational speech right now. They need cohesive offensive sets that generate open shots, they need more dribble penetration (which I’ve heard Rambis preach on this week, which I’m happy to hear him emphasizing) and they need a more consistent defensive identity. Against Orlando, the defense looked more linked together, or connected like train cars, as Rambis prefers to teach the desired defensive mindset using a preschool metaphor.

little engine that could
“Choo Choooo!”

It was a good team win for a Knicks squad desperately in need of a positive result after losing 13 of their previous 15 games. Porzingis had 18 points and 6 rebounds in 25 minutes, equaling his rebound total from the previous three games combined. His rebounding has been concerning lately, as he has failed to crack double-digit rebounds since a 13-rebound performance against Denver on February 7th. Rambis has been stressing the need for Taps to go inside more often, and really when you’re 7’3″ there’s no excuse for having a peasant’s six rebounds in over 80 minutes of court time. Kristaps knows that, and I’m sure his numbers will scale back to his averages, but he needs to show more aggression on the defensive glass and stop leaving Melo and Lopez to fend for themselves on the boards. Rebounding is possession, and the Knicks need every one they can get.

Tonight’s game will be a difficult task for the Knicks, against a team that typically gives them fits that is fighting for playoff positioning in the tightly bunched Eastern standings. It would be only one win and still leave the Knicks depressingly far out of reach of any playoff hopes, but it would be a 2-game winning streak, which the Knicks haven’t had since mid-January. It would be good to come out of the weekend with a positive vibe, and beating the Heat always comes with a little extra reason to smile.

Enjoy the game, everyone. Follow @JuddsKidding on Twitter to see my inane ramblings about basketball on a mostly nightly basis, and I’ll be in the game thread of course. Have a feeling this will be an entertaining game, Melo played poorly against Orlando and he always shows up against Miami. Can’t wait for tip-off.

GO KNICKS!

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95 comments on “2015-16 Game Thread: Knicks vs Heat

  1. BigBlueAL

    Looks like not only is Joe Johnson making his Heat debut tonight but he’s starting too. Afflalo is out for the Knicks, Gallo is starting in his place. I assume this means we get to see Vujacic tonight!!

  2. d-mar

    Oh no, we’re screwed, who’s going to do what Afflalo does:

    1) Shoot line drive midrange jumpers

    I can’t think of anything else

  3. Erik Judd Post author

    Had no idea Joe would be playing tonight for the Heat. Interesting.

    I’m with d-mar on no Afflalo. Addition by subtraction IMO

  4. Erik Judd Post author

    Ugh @ this start. Offense looks like some guys who just got lumped onto a pick-up team and are all jacking up shitty jumpers whenever they get the ball.

  5. ClashFan

    More fun with League Pass on Roku. Keeps bumping me back out to the screen where you select the feed (home or away).

  6. Erik Judd Post author

    Kinda like Calderon with the “keep chuckin’ it” mindset right now. Why the hell not?

  7. reub

    Why can’t they teach Gallo never to shoot off the dribble and just run around for an open 3 pointer? Is it that complicated?

  8. Brian Cronin

    I feel like Grant is a case of a blind squirrel finding a nut. No Afflalo AND down 11 early? Okay, i guess we’ll give grant a shot.

  9. Erik Judd Post author

    Melo looks ready to get his summer started. Can’t say as I blame him completely, but he needs to talk himself into focusing for six weeks. Be an example, Dude.

  10. chrisk06811

    Re: fire Rambis!

    If you hire a guy for something that he has proven that he sucks at, and he is consistent with his suckatude, or suckaledge; you can’t just fire him, because you knew what you were getting when you hired him. We could get sued.

  11. BigBlueAL

    The shot attempts the Knicks are taking are beyond God awful. Just a bunch of contested 18-20 footers.

  12. max fisher-cohen

    I mean, I guess Rambis has no choice but to say “we’re pushing for the playoffs” if the nail in Fisher’s coffin was when he said missing the playoffs wouldn’t be a big deal.

  13. ClashFan

    Well, despite the awful shooting and sloppy passing that is letting the Heat get out and run, the game is still in reach. Kind of surprised that the Knicks aren’t down by 24 or so…

  14. Erik Judd Post author

    Such a Knicks game tonight. Just enough to keep me invested, not enough to win. Ugh. Gotta make a drink at halftime.

  15. ClashFan

    And Anthony completely wastes the final shot attempt. Still, down just 5 at the half is rather encouraging…

  16. yellowboy90

    Don’t think I’ve ever seen Galloway dunk before that was pretty awesome

    What’s weird is last year his tip back dunks were KP esque to begin his career with the Knicks.

  17. reub

    Hey Gallo. Just run around til you get open and when they throw you the ball just shoot it. Well somebody has to tell him.

  18. nyk8806

    cuz triangulation leads to ball movement which leads to high percentage mid-range jumpers and….just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

  19. Alecto

    Don’t worry we’ll take out Galloway and put Sasha Vujacic on D-Wade

    Nothing could possibly go wrong

  20. Will the Thrill

    Guess Grant didn’t play well enough to pull ahead of The Machine in the rotation in the first half.

  21. Starks

    a shame its not a bit more wolf of wall-street Leo. At least there’s a peak before it all goes to shit

  22. Will the Thrill

    Hopefully Rambis explains why Grant lost his spot in the rotation after playing okay in the first half.

  23. Alecto

    This team is T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E

    Rambis doesn’t have a clue and it looks increasingly likely that Phil doesn’t have one either.

  24. reub

    So what do you think? Max Whiteside and trade Lopez for Teague. I think Whiteside’s max is $18 million.

  25. BigBlueAL

    To further emphasize the previous ridiculous footnote, the 2 rookies combined to play 33 mins tonight.

  26. ptmilo

    It really is destructive playing Melo 41 minutes in a 17 point loss on a team with no playoff hope. Melo should have a minutes limit imposed by Phil or Rambis should be told he ain’t getting the job even if we win 37 games instead of 33.

  27. massive

    Rambis seems to be preparing KP to play the 5. We didn’t play either of O’Quinn or Seraphin tonight, but Vujacic got 10 minutes. We should just never play Sasha and give O’Quinn that 10 minutes. Having a prime RoLo makes these games sorta enjoyable.

  28. Brian Cronin

    Stoudemire sounded like a Knickerblogger poster before the game when he decided to bring up shit from four years ago out of nowhere.

    Everyone wasn’t a fan of [Lin] being the new star. So he didn’t stay long. But Jeremy was a great, great guy. Great teammate. He worked hard. He put the work in and we’re proud of him to have his moment. A lot of times you gotta enjoy someone’s success. And that wasn’t the case for us during that stretch. You got to enjoy that. You got to let that player enjoy himself and cherish those moments. He was becoming a star and I don’t think everybody was pleased with that.

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