Without Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks fought valiantly against the rival Heat but fell 99-89 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. Surprisingly, Bill Walker was the Knicks high scorer with 21 on 7/12 shooting and all 7 shots being 3 point shots. Dwayne Wade did not disappoint Heat fans in his return. Wade buried the Knicks with 28 points and 5 steals.
Here are some notes from the game:
- What on earth got in to Bill Walker? A la something out of Space Jam, Billy Walker went unconscious from 3 in the 3rd quarter. He finished the game 7/10 from 3 point land. Yes. 7/10. He was unreal shooting the ball tonight. I thought his defense was still horrid and he had 6 turnovers but Billy Walker won over a morsel of my respect tonight. If he keeps shooting 70% from 3 he will continue to win more of my respect.
- I was surprised how the Knicks struggled against Wade. In my opinion Dwayne Wade is the best player in the NBA. He is good defensively, he is a prolific scorer and he has won a ring. I think he’s the greatest shot blocking guard in NBA history and his athleticism is off the charts. However, I thought the tall, athletic guard combination of Iman Shumpert and Landry Fields would be able to at least slow Wade down. Tonight, they failed miserably. Wade had 28 points on an efficient 11/19 shooting. I still do believe that Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert have the size, athleticism, length and defensive prowess to match up with Wade but tonight they did not do a good job defensively.
- I applaud Mike D’Antoni for his game plan today. I think he realized that the only way the Knicks could compete is if they fired away from 3 and that is what they did. The Knicks shot an insane 43 shots from beyond the arc. This was their best 3 point shooting game of the season. They hit 18/43 for 41.8%. On the season the Knicks have shot 30.4% from 3 so tonight was a big improvement. In terms of the game plan, I thought Miami did an excellent job rotating on Stoudemire when he tried to get to the paint. Stoudemire was 3/7 from mid-range but primarily tried to get to the rim. I did not think Stoudemire played poorly tonight. He still is not dominating but I did not have a problem with his shot selection tonight despite his 5/14 shooting. While people love to criticize D’Antoni, his game plan tonight kept the Knicks in the game till the end. With Miami being an excellent defensive team around the rim, D’Antoni preached the 3 point shot. The Knicks took 14 shots at the rim. They made 4. If D’Antoni had preached a normal kind of game plan, the Knicks would have lost by 40. Having gambled and planned around the 3 point shot, the embattled coach was able to keep his team in the game until they flared out and lost to the better team late in the game.
- I thought the Knicks were good defensively. The Knick half court defense tonight was pretty solid. Miami shot only 2/10 on 3 point shots. The Knicks really did what I said they couldn’t: they got killed in transition. The Knicks were outscored 20-7 in fast break points which included some thunderous Miami dunks. Despite their poor transition defense, the Knicks half court defense kept them in the game. I thought they did an excellent job on Chris Posh aka Bosh Spice. The finesse Miami “power” forward was 4/18 with 13 points. As much as I hate to say it, LeBron was very good tonight. He wasn’t the killer though. Wade was the one that got a bucket anytime the Heat needed one. Wade came in to a close game in the 4th led Miami to a victory.
- In the 2nd quarter, Wade broke out on a fast break and went up for a dunk. Iman Shumpert came from behind and fouled him, although he got most of the ball and probably does not get called for a foul on a regular player. Wade, showing Wade-like arrogance, tried to show up the Knick rookie. Wade got in his face in ridiculous fashion as the foul was not hard or malicious and Wade did not even go down to the floor. I was so happy to see how the Knicks got in-between the two guards and got up in Wade’s face. It was asinine for Wade to act in that fashion and I was glad to see the Knicks stick up for their rookie point guard.
- Unfortunately Steve Novak sucked tonight. He was 2/6 shooting and seemed to not know his role. He was forcing 3’s with hands in his face and he was shooting 3’s off the dribble. I NEVER said Novak was rotation worthy because he isn’t. My thing was Novak could play 5-10 minutes a game and give the Knicks some outside shooting that they desperately needed. I wasn’t expecting much from Novak but his forcing of shots was awful tonight.
- Landry Fields continues to get his shooting stroke back on offense. As of late he has been great getting to the rim and tonight he hit some 3 pointers. Fields was 2/5 from 3 which is a great sign to see. I really do like Fields and I think he’s going to continue to improve. He scored double digit points for the 6th straight game tonight and seems to be finding his spot in the offense.
- The “Toney Douglas” offense sucks. When the Knicks get down in the 4th quarter they seem to always revert to this “Toney Douglas” offense. In a situation where they should get the ball out of Douglas’ hands, the Knicks seem to put their trust into his hands. Of course the offense fails. He starts running high pick and rolls and then he either turns the ball over or bricks 3’s. I do not understand. I think this falls under D’Antoni. D’Antoni must tell his “point guard” to get the ball to Amar’e. To move the ball earlier in the shot clock. Whoever’s idea it was to run these stupid high pick and rolls with Douglas ought to have their IQ tested because it NEVER works and always ends up burying the Knicks late in games.