You would think someone had to have read the scouting report going into this game.
The New York Knicks set a Heat franchise record for most three-pointers made against the team last season with 18, so you would naturally assume that this was a team that liked to shoot a lot of perimeter shots, right? Well, the Heat didn’t catch the memo and instead gave up a record 19 three-pointers in a 104-84 loss where New York converted an absurd 53 percent of the 36 three-pointers they attempted.
The Heat never learned. They kept allowing wide-open three-pointers, allowing Raymond Felton or whoever was handling the ball to penetrate the lane and then kick-out to the shooter that no one was guarding. New York made it look simple over-and-over again as the Heat’s idea of allowing their opponent to shoot until they got tired failed to pay off.
New York shot 53 percent from beyond the arc, yet only managed 43 percent shooting from the field and only managed 15 free throw attempts. Miami’s 21 turnovers aided them in a victory that the city of New York deserved to have to heighten the spirits of the many that have been struggling to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Dwyane Wade said a game shouldn’t have been played there last night and apparently thought that the NBA really canceled it based on his play.
Wade was efficient shooting 7-of-10, but managed to get to the free throw line once to finish with 15 points to accompany five rebounds, four assists and four turnovers. LeBron James, who averaged nearly 30 points per game at Madison Square Garden going into Friday, scored only 23 points to go along with seven rebounds, five assists, three blocks and five turnovers.
Chris Bosh had a strong 11 rebounds, but was heavily ignored throughout the night on offense. He finished with 12 points on 13 shots.
The lack of support was staggering, as it was Rashard Lewis being the only Heat reserve to come through. While Ray Allen mustered only five points and Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier combined for five points on eight shots, it was Lewis who came through with a big 16 points to keep the margin-of-victory respectable. Lewis shot 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, ending any doubt that he needs some time to get his legs underneath him.
Lewis led the way for the Heat with four three-pointers, yet the Knicks had two players with four or more three-pointers and two other players with three. Steve Novak led the way for the Knicks with five, Carmelo Anthony (finishing with 30 points and 10 rebounds) had four–all coming in the first quarter–and Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd each had three.
Even Rasheed Wallace, the forward who hadn’t stepped onto an NBA court in over two years, converted a three-pointer. It was just that kind of night. It was on anomaly. However, it was an anomaly the Heat should have been ready for. With no Amar’e Stoudemire on the floor, it should have been obvious the Knicks were just going to shoot the ball from 25 feet out for 48 minutes.
The only team that was ready for that, however, were the Knicks. Miami just kept leaving shooters open through constant double penetration. The double-teams on the pick-and-roll were weak, which allowed Felton to gain nine assists, and the team was constantly getting beat off the dribble because they were running out to the perimeter in order to defend the open man. Unfortunately, this idea of Miami’s to pack the paint and keep giving up shots to good shooters didn’t pan out.
The Heat were down 33-17 after the first quarter and never recovered. Anthony had four, two of which were absurd by any stretch of the imagination, three-pointers and it devastated Miami. The Heat got the score within 11 points by halftime, but failed to capitalize on the Knicks slow start in the third quarter. On this kind of night, somehow the Heat’s offense was just as bad as its defense.
When you commit 21 turnovers, you don’t give yourself a solid chance to come out with a win, especially when you only force 12 turnovers and give up 19 three-pointers.
Miami’s offense was slow and sluggish from the start. There was hardly any dribble penetration and nowhere near the ball movement we saw against Boston. The main difference between the games against New York and Boston was the fact that the Heat simply weren’t moving the ball with near the same efficiency. Not only that, but the Heat didn’t nearly match New York’s intensity, energy and effort.
Effort was at such a minimum that the 40-year-old Kurt Thomas got to a loose ball while four other Heat players watched and made a conscious effort to go after the ball following a quick vote on who should go after it. By that point, it was too late and the Knicks had already made another shot from 25 feet beyond the rim.
There was one team playing with energy and intelligence and there was one that had no idea what it was doing. Either way, the Heat just gave up over 100 points for a second consecutive game and didn’t have the offense to match it. Still, giving up only 104 points isn’t that bad when you consider how many three-pointers were made. Miami just needs to start looking at scouting reports and have to think that playing one-on-one defense wouldn’t have been a bad idea against an old team that can hardly take anyone off the dribble.
Instead, the Heat constantly rotated and kept giving up open shots. There were no adjustments.
The Heat come home to play the Denver Nuggets in the second leg of a back-to-back.