What an immensely satisfying game that was to watch. The Knicks played with the kind of energy I didn’t know if they were capable of after the Atlanta game last night with the starters all playing extended minutes, but several Knicks were not in Miami tonight to lose, most notably Carmelo Anthony. The man went 9-12 for 25 points and I honestly don’t remember any of the misses. It seemed like every time he touched the ball, he made a good decision, be it a smart rotation pass or a great ISO move to make a shot. It was a joy to watch, and I know Melo gets up for Miami games so I’m happy for him. The Knicks have lost 8 straight games to the longtime rival Heat going back to 2014, so this was just a pleasure to watch. Running out of synonyms to describe the experience of watching the game, but I’m sure like most of the fanbase, I am giddy after this improbably 3-game winning streak.
I can’t go another word without giving ROLO a ton of credit tonight. He held Whiteside to 8 points and 8 rebounds, and even if the Heat’s diamond in the rough is a bit hobbled, it was an extremely impressive game from Lopez. And his contributions were not just on the defensive end, as he went 9-12 for 19 points of his own tonight. It may have been his best game of the season, although I don’t have the stats in front of me to prove it, by the (bandage above the) eye test, it was his finest game in a Knicks uniform thus far in this writer’s opinion. If not for his play on both sides of the floor, the Knicks probably lose this game.
Bosh was abusive to Kristaps, who was only 3-10 (though 6-6 from the line) in this game and only collected 4 rebounds. That missed dunk was a big letdown for those of us wanting to see Taps on SportsCenter tonight, and unfortunately we might see him on the Top 10 getting posterized by Bosh or Whiteside, but what’s most important is that his team gets the W. I think Zinger played a solid game against a front line that really outmatches him, especially Bosh (12-22 for 28 tonight), who seems to go after Kristaps as if the young Latvian killed his dog last summer or something. Honestly, Miami seems to take it so personally that Zinger is so well thought of, and I wish I knew the story behind that. I know Bosh and Wade are extremely close with Melo, and my best guess is that has something to do with it, but whatever, the Heat can stare down the Rook all they want while they’re down 15 at home.
The game really turned when the Knicks went on a 15-4 run to end the 2nd quarter, giving them an 8-point lead to begin the 2nd half, which not-so-coincidentally was the same differential at the end of the 4th quarter. It seemed like the team gained a lot of confidence from that run and they never looked back, leading the game the rest of the way and never really getting themselves into significant danger thereafter. To be fair, the Heat missed a ton of shots (2-17 for 3, 11.8%), but shotmaking comes and goes in this league and the Heat should have stopped jacking it up at some point. This was the Knicks’ 4th win in 5 games and was probably their most impressive effort in the stretch, bringing them within a game of .500. San Antonio looms on Friday, which I admit to thinking of as an auto-loss, but after this recent stretch I’m not so sure. It would be ludicrous to predict a win on Friday against the Spurs, who are undefeated at home, but I’m definitely going to be watching with more optimism than I would have last Friday.
Make yourselves a drink, Knicks nation. Watch the Grizz-Thunder game if you’re so inclined, but however you spend the rest of your evening, spend it basking in the glow of victory.