New York defeated the Miami Heat in South Beach, 91-86. Of course D’Antoni’s Knicks did it with defense. I can’t believe I just wrote those two sentences.
The Heat were held to only 47.3% eFG, and had 20 team turnovers which gave New York the victory. The Knicks gave up the shooting edge (NYK: 43.8% eFG), but took three of the other four factors, including turnovers (16 to 20), rebounding (8 of 44 to 6 of 41 offensive rebounds), and free throws (21 to 16 free throws made).
Carmelo Anthony led the team in scoring with 29 points on 22 shots (ts% 55.9%) while Amar’e Stoudemire was held to only 16 points on 14 shots and zero free throw attempts. Miami’s defense’s scheme was clear – keep Amar’e out of the paint. The Heat packed the middle daring New York to beat them from the outside. On the other hand the Knicks shut down Dwayne Wade, holding him to a mere 12 points on 15(!) shots. Have to give credit to Anthony Carter who played really well on defense against Wade.
* Did you miss the game? Check out KnicksNow’s video recap of the game.
Anthony finished with a game-high 29 points and 9 rebounds. Eleven of Anthony’s 29 points came on isolation plays. He trails only Kobe Bryant for the most points off isolation plays this season…
While Anthony’s offense certainly kept the Knicks in the game, it was his defensive presence that may have put the game away. Anthony was asked to guard LeBron James in the fourth quarter, and the defensive switch paid off for the Knicks. James was 1-for-4 when Anthony was the on-ball defender during the final five minutes of the game, including on Miami’s final two field goal attempts.
Anthony wasn’t the only Knick to lock down on defense. New York held Miami under 40 percent shooting in the half court over the final three quarters. For some perspective, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks shot a combined 46 percent in the half court during the Knicks previous two games.
* Could Azubuike finally see some court time?
* Posting & Toasting on Bill Walker’s (+22 last night!) game:
In a game in which the long-haired bruhs (Ronny Turiaf and Renaldo Balkman*) had very little effect, Bill Walker was king of the bench. That bank job just before halftime was one of two big threes he hit, the other being an equally deep one to mess with the Miami momentum in the fourth quarter. Bully also had some nice sequences defending LeBron (and Wade as well), and pulled down 7 boards in 25 minutes.
* Buried in Alan Hahn’s “Denver forced Chauncey Billups on New York” article are these juicy tidbits:
This early success – save for the embarrassing loss in Cleveland – might help the Knicks become a more attractive destination for some of this year’s buyout class. Troy Murphy, who is expected to have a buyout agreement done with Golden State, would be a terrific fit as a stretch 5 because of his ability to shoot the three, plus he is an excellent rebounder. Murphy may be leaning more to the Celtics for a better shot at a ring, but the Knicks are on his list. Another big the Knicks have under consideration is Leon Powe, who could give them some hustle and muscle in the paint, though not much size. One seven-footer, Joel Przybilla, appears to be off the potential market as the Bobcats appear to be keeping him for the rest of the season as they battle for a playoff spot.
The Knicks could use another three-point shooter and Rasual Butler will be available once he clears waivers. In limited minutes with the Clippers this season, Butler was shooting 32.6 percent from downtown. He is a career 36.1 percent shooter from three-point range.
One addition we know the Knicks will make for their next game is 6-11 Jared Jeffries, who will sign on Tuesday once he clears waivers. He’ll be eligible to play against the Magic on Tuesday night in Orlando.
* Someone could use a basic course in statistics. Ugh!