Knicks 78, Heat 97

Sometime towards the end of the second quarter, the Knicks decided they were willing to get outcompeted by the Heat, which is a discouraging trend of late. When the lead evaporated before halftime and the third quarter became a friendly competition between Knicks to see who could hit the front of the rim the softest, the signs were there. Even with a spirited start to the 4th, the Knicks were caving faster than a mole with vertigo and they essentially watched Gerald Green assassinate their chances to avenge the loss on Monday.

The turning point happened when Green was fouled on a 3-pointer in the beginning of the 4th, resulting in three made free throws that effectively Frankensteined a player that every relevant statistic considered to be an inanimate corpse. The Knicks then watched helplessly as Green went all NBA-JAM-He’s-on-Fire for the next few minutes and put the game out of reach.

It certainly didn’t help that the Knicks only managed 29 2nd half points, resuming their woeful offensive play after a promising first half, or that The Latviathan was laden with foul trouble throughout and could never really establish himself in the game, but a lot went wrong in the 2nd half.

Bosh Spice

Bosh Spice was extremely effective at bothering Porzingis and helping get him into foul trouble. Because of his unique skill set and underrated defensive ability, I assumed Bosh would be problematic for the Zing God, but Bosh really brought it tonight. Must have liked the spread at Melo’s Thanksgiving last night or something, but the sequence when Bosh blocked Porzingis and found Green open for 3 to extend the Heat’s lead to 13 early in the 4th was dream-shattering. It essentially ended the game.

The bench was notably improved, going 18-43 for 28 points, but still shot a poor percentage and had too many defensive breakdowns. It was a step in the right direction, but in the past three games the second unit has been little more than an awkward euphemism for a 2nd-string sex toy.

The Heat undeniably have more talent than the Knicks right now, and they are a good test because of that, but the Knicks have to play with more intensity against the good teams in this league. The Heat had 28 FTA to the Knicks 15, only 4 of which came from the starting 5. That kind of emphatic lack of aggression is a symptom of an uninspired team, and that understandably happens from time to time in a sport where teams play 82 games in a season, so hopefully the Knicks can rise above their Holiday malaise and regroup.

It’s important to point out how good the Heat’s defense is and how that is a contributing factor to the Knicks’ performance against them, but to be held under 80 points twice in four days by the same team is concerning no matter the situation. The ball moved less than a coma patient for large portions of the second half as the offense stalled and that’s something Phil Ja–err, Derek Fisher, will need to address. Even a simple pick & roll from the top has been difficult to execute lately and a lot of that has to do with the terrible outside shooting, resulting in defenses sucking in towards the paint and sealing off driving and passing lanes.

The Knicks will be glad to see a team dealing with a host of their own existential issues, the Rockets, on Sunday, but they have plenty to work on until then.

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Erik Judd

I'm a lifelong basketball fan whose interests range from some things to other things.

15 thoughts to “Knicks 78, Heat 97”

  1. In other games it hasn’t been such a big deal that Melo hasn’t been shooting well – he really has made an effort on the defensive end, and got himself some sweet assists to go with the plentiful rebounds. But tonight…no. Not so much. Getting clowned by Green while shooting 4-13 is just a bad, bad thing.

    I thought Jerian and Calderon each had decent games. So theres’ that. But this was a game they should have made a statement, after getting their asses kicked in Miami. The only statement they made was that we should not take them seriously right now – that we were right to have them in the mid-30s in wins. They can’t hang with a good team in their own conference.

  2. I actually think Melo doesn’t shoot enough. Hes just so passive now. I don’t know that that is always such a good thing.

    6 shots in the second half? Really?

  3. What I took from this game was once Porzingis couldn’t play the 3rd quarter, things got out of hands. He’s a huge part of what we do on both ends of the floor and he needs to avoid foul trouble so he can play.

    And Whiteside’s interior defense is the best I’ve seen in my young basketball life. He literally took the Knicks’ ability to convert a lay up when he stepped on the floor.

  4. Frankly, Zinger has played so well to start the season that the season has already been a success in my book. He looks like the type of player you build teams around. So whether this team wins games or not this season, they will win games in the future with him as their star. So it’s hard for me to get all that worked up about losses. Wins take on greater meaning, as they’re like nice surprises. Losses, though, don’t bug me too much. Since the team has already sort of “won” the season for me just by having Zinger succeed.

  5. The Knicks do not match up well with Miami, that is pretty clear after their first two meetings this season.

  6. Can we give secretly give Whiteside a few million in kicker money if he joins the Knicks? He’s so so so good.

  7. On one hand as mentioned above these past 3 games has kinda brought us back to reality a bit. This team probably should be a mid-30 wins team. Yet when you look at their record they are 8-9 but they are 0-5 against the Cavs, Heat and Spurs. Realistically they should at best go 1-4 against those teams (granted 3 of those games were at MSG). Being 8-4 so far against teams they should be competitive with is a positive sign that they could make a legit run at a playoff spot hopefully. Of course losing at home next week to either the 76ers or Nets will not be a good sign lol.

  8. I think how they do Sunday against the Rockets with Dwight Howard will be a good sign as to where they sit – back of the Eastern Conference (but well ahead of Brooklyn and Philly) or right in there with the Washington, Milwaukee, Orlando, Boston and Detroits of the East. Then again, the Rockets almost lost to the Sixers, so maybe the Rockets just aren’t good and they aren’t a good guide of anything.

  9. Losses, though, don’t bug me too much. Since the team has already sort of “won” the season for me just by having Zinger succeed.

    I’d say there’s one practical reason and one irrational reason I get upset about losses.

    Practical: the more competent we seem when our roster is Melo, Porzingis, and a whole lot of role players, the greater our chances will be of attracting free agents this off-season.

    Irrational: I know there’s nothing we can do about the Bargnani trade now, but I’m still going to be hugely annoyed if Toronto gets a lottery pick out of it, even if it’s a low lottery pick in what might not be a great draft.

  10. Melo just seemed really passive after the 1st quarter. If a guy is aggressively bodying you up like Winslow was doing, shouldn’t you make him pay by putting the ball on the floor and drawing contact a la Harden? Instead Melo was just giving it up. It was the one time I wanted to see a little bit of hero ball, without Zinger on the court, there’s really not a lot of other options.

  11. I don’t think Melo can go around Winslow. He actually doesn’t beat people off the dribble that much these days….

  12. Well, if a guy is literally up in your grill, what are the alternatives? At least try and make him pay for the overplay. I’ve seen Melo get to the basket this year against good defenders, it’s not like he can’t do it.

    He just seemed out of it yesterday, usually when guys play him like that he takes it personally.

  13. It’s possible he celebrated Thanksgiving too much, or maybe he’s just tired. He’s a bit on the old side, coming off knee surgery, and he’s still playing a lot of minutes. There are going to be some games where he just doesn’t have it physically.

    And Winslow, Bosh, and Whiteside are a formidable defensive spine

  14. This is what a winning NBA team is all about. No triangle. No “ball movement.” What you need is a person who is both an outside threat and can beat his perimeter defender to drive for a layup and if he is met by a throng of defenders he passes to shooters on the perimeter who can put the ball in the hoop.

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