I know at this point most have conceded the New York Knicks will get swept by the Miami Heat. They have won the first two games by 617 points, I got it.
Transparent note #1 – I thought the New York Knicks could win this series.
Transparent note #2 – I still don’t think the series is over despite the popular belief.
Game One was a complete disaster, no questions asked, no way around it. There were multiple factors going into why it was so bad, but I’ll leave that alone here, no point in looking back.
Game Two was a huge improvement. The Knicks lost because they lost focus for about a five minute stretch. New York was down 45-43 with 2:09 left in the second quarter when the Heat took a timeout. After the TO Miami went on a 6-0 run to go up 53-45 with 29 seconds left. 3:35 left in the third quarter the Knicks trailed 71-66 coming out a Heat timeout. Score at the end of the third quarter 78-69, a four point swing. Add those two mini runs together that’s 10 points, which means the rest of the game was dead even.
Then after the game, the Knicks caught the break they desperately needed with Amar’e Stoudemire intelligently smashing his hand into glass/fire extinguisher. If you don’t realize why this is good take five minutes and do a little research. That’s a story for a separate column.
If Knicks head coach Mike Woodson wasn’t so incredibly stubborn forcing Carmelo Anthony and Stoudemire to play at the same time, this wouldn’t have been needed. There was a simple way to work the rotations even if you had to start STAT to keep him happy to make it work, but Woodson wouldn’t do it. For the Knicks to have a chance Amar’e needed to go.
Which brings us to Game Three and the adjustments that must be made so we can all watch Game Four on Sunday for a chance to really make this a series.
Woodson needs to start Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony, Steve Novak, J.R. Smith and Baron Davis.
That group is the Knicks best five for the rest of this series and I want it to get run against the Heat’s starting unit of Haslem, Bosh, LeBron, Wade and Chalmers.
With those two groups against each other Haslem or Bosh is going to get stuck guarding Steve Novak. Novak has taken five shots this entire series, with one of those two guarding him it will be much easier for New York to get him open looks. If Fields is in the starting line-up instead of J.R. Smith Miami puts Chalmers on Baron, LeBron on Melo, Wade on Novak and Haslem/Bosh on Fields/Chandler, which isn’t nearly as much of a mismatch.
Another reason you start the above five is by the time you get to them about midway through the first quarter when J.R. Smith comes in for Fields, Erik Spoelstra will go to a Bosh, LeBron, Wade, Mike Miller, Chalmers line-up which takes away all the cross matching the Heat will have to do with the starting group. I figure the Knicks can get four or five minutes at the beginning of the first and third quarter where they can take advantage of Spoelstra’s love Udonis Haslem.
I got to touch on Game Four real quick. Even if the Knicks beat the Heat in Game Three, they would be absolutely out of their minds to bring back Jeremy Lin and Amar’e Stoudemire. Why would you screw up a good thing? And if they do both should come off the bench. If Woodson starts Stoudemire and Lin in Game Four after the Knicks win Game Three that would be just as bad as anything Mike D’Antoni has ever done.