Heat 102, Knicks 91

New York Knicks 91 FinalRecap | Box Score 102 Miami Heat
Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 30 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -11Mike Woodson : Amar’e Stoudemire getting important minutes :: The Captain of the Titanic : The TitanicHere’s a quick shot of Amar’e looking slightly out of position while trying to defend Chris Bosh:

Carmelo Anthony, SF 44 MIN | 4-17 FG | 4-5 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | 0After the Knicks opened the game on a 16-3 run, they attempted long twos on five of their next six possessions, missing all five and immediately letting the Heat back in the game. Three of those misses were Melo’s, none of them especially open or at a juncture in the shot clock where settling for them was necessary. I’m not of the mindset that a team that builds is offense around Melo has inherently limited its ability to compete with the NBA’s elite but plenty of people are of precisely that mindset and when they have their day in court, they could do worse than choosing for their Exhibit A the middle four minutes of the first quarter of this afternoon’s game. 4-for-17 in the end and I suppose the bumps and bruises will bear the brunt of the blame but unless those bumps were to his head they don’t explain why someone who has basically plead no contest to the argument that he can’t be a scorer right now is still shooting so much.

Tyson Chandler, C 34 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +6Of everything the Knicks might at some point regret about the 2013-14 season, not trading Tyson Chandler while he was still perceived as an elite rebounder/finisher/rim protector will likely stand out the most. And I’m on the record going the other way on this one: I love the guy and hope he retires a Knick just because I’m a sappy sentimentalist who has been given far to little to latch on to and care about and stick up for this past decade and change. But he’s rapidly approaching “commodity big” territory which still makes him an asset with some market value but not the kind of piece for whom you’re going to command high-end building blocks. Anyway, a 10 and 11 tonight and a C+ on the defensive end and just a whole lot of nothing that a dozen or so other guys who make less money couldn’t have given you and not caused you to give a second thought to it.

Raymond Felton, PG 31 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | +1015 and 5 on 12 shots with 4 steals and 3 turnovers? Seven days a week and twice on Sundays, friends, even if it wasn’t enough for us to win this one.

J.R. Smith, SG 43 MIN | 11-28 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 32 PTS | -5Everybody acts like J.R. Smith is some big mystery that needs solving. He’s not. Let me spoil the ending for you: when he 1) makes his threes and 2) gets to the free throw line, he’s very good. When he doesn’t, he isn’t. The rest is basically in the eye of the beholder and we’re all a lot more willing to focus on the good and gloss over the bad when he’s getting his points efficiently. Which he did today so that’s Good JR and a good grade and a “this one’s not your fault” but it says nothing about what J.R. he’ll be tomorrow or the day after or in Round 1 of the rapidly evaporating postseason.

Jeremy Tyler, PF 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0No need.

Cole Aldrich, C 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Nahhhhhh.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 17 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -21No me gusta.

Iman Shumpert, SG 28 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -6Getting his mojo back just a little bit to my eyes: smarter defense (less of the cartoonish over-helping), better rebounding, three point stroke looked cleaner today (though 2 of 6 is about the dictionary definition of “pedestrian” from that range). Once again leading the war of attrition with Tim Hardaway, Jr. to determine who the Knicks most promising young player is.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 12 MIN | 0-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -26Good Lord, look at that line!  Brutally, painfully awful and with a streak of insult to injury when he wrapped LeBron up on a fastbreak and the King still finished the layup like he was placing it through a Little Tikes hoop in his backyard with his young son hugging his leg.  What a nightmare.  This is why we can’t have nice things.

Mike Woodson
Whatever, dude.

Two Things We Saw

  1. I started watching this game from the beginning on my TiVo at a time when I already knew the Knicks to be down 11 in the fourth quarter. This only served to make it a fact, rather than a strongly-held suspicion and a general testament to my well-honed cynical streak, that the Knicks’ 16-3 start would ultimately prove meaningless.
  2. In itself, this was a garden-variety loss to a very good team and not much reason for alarm (aside, of course, from the small and vanishing margin of error that the Knicks have afforded themselves). It’s just that you get the sense from this team that they have spent the whole season expecting a moment to come when a switch would flip and all of the chances that they’ve spent the better part of 6 months squandering would fade into irrelevance and they would make their run and it would take them where they had to go. And slowly over these past few weeks they’ve built up enough steam to let the guys on the court and in the front office and, to some extent, up on the terraces finally get to say “here it is, now it’s happening.” And losses like this – against the kind of team that knows the value of a shot and a possession and a victory and a title – feel worse than they really should, if only because they reek of reality and of broken optimism. They shine a light from the summit that the Heat have scaled. And the light casts a dark shadow whose shape is that of the towering precipice to which all NBA franchises aspire. And the length of the shadow tells us just how far it looms above the ledge where we’ve set up camp for the evening.
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Kevin McElroy

Kevin McElroy watches the Knicks and owns a computer.

21 thoughts to “Heat 102, Knicks 91”

  1. I wonder how many games better than us the Hawks would have been if they weren’t playing without their best player for most of the year. Oh, but we were thrown into hyperspace by missing JR for the first five. Woodson’s greatest coaching feat in retrospect will be convincing Josh Smith to go 0-7 from 3 for the entire 09-10 season. That’s not nothing. He will probably retire as the worst volume 3pt shooter in the history of basketball. Milsap and Korver were great free agent values.

  2. Whoah, either Atlanta is really fighting for this playoffspot or the pacers truly are THAT BAD. 42-15…

  3. Atlanta up 30 midway through the 2nd. Wow. Well, guess it’s time to hitch a ride on the ol’ Spurs bandwagon. Let’s go Spurs! (or whatever it is they cheer)

  4. @2 I also wonder what the Hawks record would currently be if Mike Woodson was still their coach. And then what would the Knicks record be if Budenholzer (or any other competent coach not named Mike Woodson) were at the helm. The Hawks in all likelihood would be lottery bound, while the Knicks would be somewhere in the BKN, WAS, CHA range with probably a .500 record

  5. I thought the defining moment of the game was Melo’s play at the end of Q3.

    He yells at THJ, telling him that he needs to shoot the ball when he’s open. Leadership! And then the ball is inbounded to him and he hurtles up a bad shot with the Knicks down 6 and the shot clock off, resulting in a Heat fast break and-1. Knicks down 9.

    I just have this feeling that Melo is the kind of guy who struggles to behave effectively in a leadership capacity. It seems to distract him. I am reminded (always, forever) of the first bad Wiz home loss, where he was yelling at Udrih for matadoring Bradley Beal to the rim and then completely fucking brainfarted on the ensuing inbounds play.

    I am still convinced Melo can only win in this league if he’s Option 1B on a team. He really does need a Chris Paul type teammate to lash his butt into line and to direct possessions when things are tight.

    Pretending he’s a franchise cornerstone, worthy of a 100M contract into his mid-30s, seems very dangerous to me… still, you have to resign him. If Joe Johnson’s onerous contract could be traded, so can Melo’s.

  6. Kyle Lowry (6′ 0″) is averaging 5.6 rpg since the end of February. Hibbert (7′ 2″) is at 4.2 rpg. That’s over 21 games.

  7. I’m getting a sneaking suspicion that Phil Jax is not crazy about the idea of re-signing Melo, and would rather get us back to where we were before the Melo deal.

    Personally, I’d like to see us get some assets (draft picks or young players) in return for Melo in a sign and trade (ephus, we can do that, right?) Then let Amare, Chandler and Bargnani expire and start from scratch. I guess you keep Timmy, Shump and maybe Tyler around (unless the right deal comes along) and hope to sell some other FAs on the Jax mystique.

    I just don’t see it happening with Melo @ $28 million per, not with the cap as tight as it is.

  8. Yes, the Knicks can send Melo out in a sign and trade.

    The hard part is finding a team that 1) wants to spend 4/98 million on Melo, 2) Melo wants to go to and 3) does not have the cap space to sign Melo outright.

    There is a Chicago trade, but it is not simple. Houston has an even tougher path.

  9. Yeah, unless he wants to go to Chicago, there doesn’t seem to be any place for Melo to go but New York. It’s really actually kind of hilarious that the guy is sooooo good and yet he has such a bizarrely limited range of where he wants to play that he is essentially stuck here. If his ego would allow it, Phoenix would be perfect for him.

  10. I didn’t watch the game today. Just couldn’t take the pain anymore.

    If we resign Melo to a huge deal it’s going to be tough to get up for next season. I will in the end, I have no backbone. But honestly, what’s the point. It’s a total dead end.

    I want to give Dolan credit and make the argument that he brought Jackson in because he knew he would need cover when Melo left. But that’s really a wildly delusional take on the situation….

  11. I presume that the hope is that Melo will definitely take less now that Jackson is here. If that’s the case, then I’d be fine with that. But yeah, if he gets a Super MAX deal, the team is pretty much fucked.

  12. There are plenty of teams that will have the cap space for Melo. Just not a lot of sign and trade destinations.

    Don’t sleep on Philadelphia. Melo can stay in NYC, like Wilt. Lots of cap space. Noel, Carter-Williams and Randle(?) is the start of something.

  13. Guys, just a thought after a game we had no business winning (along the 85% of the league; we shouldn’t be sad that we lost this one): how many games did Woody’s coaching cost us this season? My wild guess says 8-10.

    If that’s the case (and I think it is), how come JVG always waxes poetic on Woodson on tv? I mean, I understand corporativism and don’t bite the hand that might one day feed you (Dolan’s, not Woodson’s), but come on, Van Gundy is a smart guy, so why does he make a fool of himself on public tv when nobody who even remotely roots for NY could have a kind word for Woodson? I’m not asking for him to bash Woody publicly, but come on Jeff, you’re better than that.

    As an aside: how is it even possibile that we don’t have anything resembling an offensive scheme (not system; scheme!)? Even the freeflowing Rockets have much more coherence than us in that regard.

  14. I understand corporativism and don’t bite the hand that might one day feed you (Dolan’s, not Woodson’s), but come on, Van Gundy is a smart guy, so why does he make a fool of himself on public tv when nobody who even remotely roots for NY could have a kind word for Woodson?

    I don’t think he is “not biting the hand that feeds him”. I think JVG takes his membership in the Coach’s Union very seriously, and defends his fellow fraternity members unconditionally.

  15. @ 15… mannnn, I was just thinking the same thing over the past few days for those exact reasons. Heck, why not even Washington?

    To that end, I think the trade routes and destination that we’ve been discussing are too narrow and direct. I understand the cap makes trading difficult, and a lot of front offices don’t have the balls to engage in a multi-team trade, but I’m saying: let’s say Melo to Philly makes sense for the Sixers (MCW, Noel, potential top-5 pick) but you wanted more than say Thaddeus Young + mid-lottery/2nd rounders?

  16. @ Ted Nelson

    I think that’s part of it. I would say the other part is that any coach will tell you that when players start focusing on the coach as the source of their problems and not on themselves, they lose focus. It gives them an out. So I think the other thing motivating JVG when he defends every coach is the coach in him — he may not be coaching the team, but part of him still thinks that way.

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