Saturday, December 8, 2012

Notes: New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat [12/06/12]

New York Knicks 112 - Miami Heat 92

The Good

Knicks: A few months ago, when the New York Knicks gave up on Jeremy Lin and signed a few older pieces, just about everyone wrote them off. There were a ridiculous, but acceptable amount of old man jokes made by basketball bloggers, including myself and none of us would have thought they will be sitting at the top of the East. Sure, the internet was much better back in the summer, but the reality is that this Knicks team has figured out their identity and are holding each other to it.

In the second meeting with the Miami Heat, they have managed to blow out the reigning champions again and this time without Carmelo Anthony. The veterans in this team completely changed the culture, the guys are always looking for the extra pass and never slow to move the ball. The spacing in this 1 in, 4 out offense opens up the floor for Raymond Felton to get into the teeth of the defense. He doesn't do anything phenomenal but he does get guys open and has a nice two man game with Tyson Chandler.

For those who doubt the Knicks ability to continue this high percentage shooting from the three can not be more wrong. Of course there will be nights where they won't hit anything regardless of defense, it happens to everyone. The fact is that NBA players will hit majority of their shots when wide open, and you can count on this to happen in this offense. Melo's return will just make this team all the more terrifying. His demand of defensive attention just creates more opportunities for his teammates.

I am still not convinced that Amare Stoudemire could co-exist with Carmelo and Tyson. The offense they are running is similar to the familiar days in Phoenix, however he was the Center back in the day. Look, the obvious answer would be putting him in the bench role, but it doesn't solve the 4th quarter problem, they have to learn to play together and it means that Amare will have to accept a reduced role, stay out of the paint and become a stretch big. Whether you are confident of his shooting abilities, that is up to you to decide.

Heat: On the night LeBron James goes nuts, 31 points, 10 boards and 9 assists. His teammates disappeared. James alone was responsible 50 percent and more of Miami's offense. In the few minutes he was off the floor, his team allowed runs and repeatedly failed to find a bucket. They only kept themselves into the game with free throws, because what else can the other two All Stars do when they combine for 6 of 25 from the field.

The Bad

Knicks: Their defense was not particularly great. The game was close up to 4th quarter because they allowed Miami to get inside via cuts. It got worst with Tyson Chandler on the bench, the Heat either got an easy layup or a pair of free throws.

Heat: Before I go through this disaster of a defense, I acknowledge that the NBA regular season play is far different than the playoffs. The Heat proved that last year, but as of right now, they look nothing like the team that won the Championship in June. The Heat relies on constant pressure and interior help to make up for their size deficit. They trap ball handlers off the screen hard and make their life miserable. A wrong move results in a turnover and pave way for the Heat's transition game. If somehow, the ball handler can pass out, one of the Miami players rotate right away and the offense will once return to a stand still.

None of what I mentioned above happened, Raymond Felton got in the paint whenever he wanted. He threw passes right into the middle of the paint to Tyson Chandler that normally would turn into a fast break for the Heat. These half ass rotations allowed threes after threes uncontested and the switches from the pick and roll that left Miami bigs out in the perimeter did not do them any favors. You can put the blame on the new additions that are struggling to adapt and Shane Battier's injury but the problem is the lack of effort. Until they decide to give it their all, this defense will continue to suffer.

1 comment:

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