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Heat shut down Jeremy Lin, cruise to victory over Knicks

Feb 23, 2012, 10:40 PM EDT

Mario Chalmers, Jeremy Lin

By now you’ve certainly heard all about Jeremy Lin, and the way he’s led the Knicks to an improbable stretch of nine wins in the team’s last 11 games. The Miami Heat, too, were obviously paying attention, and made sure that Lin wouldn’t be a factor when the teams met on Thursday.

Miami’s defense forced Lin into playing his worst game since becoming a starter, as the Heat cruised to a 102-88 victory, the team’s eighth straight. Lin had averaged just under 24 points and a little more than nine assists per game during that magical 11-game span, but finished this one with just eight points, six rebounds, and three assists, to go along with eight turnovers. Lin was a dismal 1-for-11 from the field, thanks to heavy pressure from multiple defenders all night long.

There’s no shame in the Knicks losing to this Heat team on the road; Miami is playing at an elite level right now, and owns the best record in the league heading into the All-Star break at 27-7. But the Knicks should be concerned with the way the Heat used their team defense to stifle Lin, which in turn shut down the rest of the New York offense.

Miami played physical, on-ball defense when Lin had possession, and twice, the Heat’s point guards were able to get steals from him in the open court which resulted in breakaway dunks on the other end. The Heat showed hard on the screen-and-roll, often forcing Lin to give up the ball while still 25 feet from the basket. And when Lin was able to gain some measure of dribble penetration, his defender was able to stay in front of him, while the Heat’s help defense made sure any shot attempts were well-contested.

Lin couldn’t get the offense going, and as a result, he wasn’t the only one to struggle. Carmelo Anthony, playing in just his third game since Lin started rolling after missing the previous seven due to a groin strain, finished with 19 points, but it took him 20 shots to get there. Baron Davis, who was to be New York’s savior at the point guard spot before Lin made his mark, managed to miss all seven of his shot attempts — including four from three-point distance — in just 14 minutes of action off the bench.

Meanwhile, Miami’s big three shouldered the load for the Heat offensively, combining for 67 points on better than 50 percent shooting.

Lin is no fluke; he can clearly play at this level, and is likely to continue to flourish as the key component running Mike D’Antoni’s offense. It will take some time to integrate Anthony back into the fold, who is an elite if inefficient scorer when he has the ball in his hands. And, the Knicks are clearly still a long way from reaching their potential, as D’Antoni pointed out afterward.

“It’s one game,” he said. “And we’re not there yet. They’re there. They’re the team right now to beat for everybody. They’re playing better than everybody. And we’re trying to get our team together.”

All of that is true, and not every team has the necessary personnel or cohesiveness defensively to do what Miami was able to. But what should be of critical concern to the Knicks is the fact that the Heat gave the rest of the league a solid blueprint of exactly how to go about stopping Lin and the rest of the New York offense.

  1. shockexchange - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    What tree gets chopped down in MIami in February? Lin-wood.

    The Knicks will still make the playoffs and have successful year though.

    • africanballer - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:50 AM

      True

  2. cakemixa - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    The Knicks aren’t even close to being contenders, and tonight it showed.

  3. 1972wasalongtimeago - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    This Heat fan gives the Knicks credit. It wasn’t the beat down I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, it was a beat down. Just not as bad as I thought it would be. I thought the Heat were going to completely embarrass the Knicks, but it was just a regular old domination.

    Kudos to JR Smith who was fantastic. Not LeBron/DWade fantastic. Not Chris Bosh fantastic. But I’ll give him Brandon Jennings fantastic, definitely. Great pick u. Baron Davis? Not so much. And Lin? He was clearly overmatched.

    Anyway, very happy with the win. Said it before and I’ll say it again. This is going to be an awesome season.

  4. progress2011 - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Very good display of ” TEAM BALL ” in Miami. No one guy show. Each of the 3 premier players of the Heat scored 20+. And each played solid defense.

    TEAM BALL AND TEAM DEFENSE, WINS RINGS !!!

  5. crackersnap - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    Finally. Somebody decided to play tight defense on Lin for an entire game.

  6. nowillrepeat - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    Can we now please stop saying “Linsanity?” Over the top!!!

  7. chargerdillon - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    The difference between the Heat and the Knicks? TIME AND CHEMISTRY

    The Knicks have some really solid pieces in place, but it doesnt happen in a year, it takes time to develop that rhythm. The Heat did it at an advanced pace last year and now it just looks fluid.

    Give the Knicks a year to let Lin, Chandler, Melo, and Amare gel and guess what, it could be really scary.

    Gasol and the Lakers are a perfect example. Gasol came in but they weren’t ready to win it that year. A year later they roll in and dominate once there’s no hesitation and the trust is there.

    The East is a damn exicting conference to watch develop right now.

    • southbeachtalent - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM

      I agree, that team needs some time to gel. Funny how the Heat weren’t afforded that time.

      On another note Lin has been exposed. He can not go to his left.

      • kopy - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:59 PM

        To be fair, James/Wade/Bosh >>> Stoudamire/Anthony/Lin

        Lin definitely needs to work on his left though. Rubio and the Timberwolves made him go left as much as possible and he shot 8-24, probably his worst game until Miami. The Heat had the personnel to execute the strategy more effectively.

      • kopy - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:00 PM

        Sorry for misspelling Stoudemire.

  8. t16rich - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    Lin makes over 700k a year!!! Why isn’t he outplaying the Heat? It’s not like they have 300 million commited to 3 starters. Oh my mistake. Not to mention the 3 starters who make 8 figures a season on the Knicks roster already. Lin struggled but it’s funny how the money of the team is getting no blame for not stepping up to take over for him slacking.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:54 AM

      You’re right. Did Melo, Amare, or Chandler remind anybody of a a max contract guy? Didn’t think so. JR Smith was better than any of them.

  9. losangelasbasketball - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    Lin is second string material in a room full of names like mello, stoudamire, and chandler

  10. 305phinphan - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:46 AM

    I was at the game tonight and I must say I’m really getting tired of New Yorkers flooding to Florida. They all come down here to live then talk about how proud they are to be a New Yorker and how great New York is. Well…….MOVE BACK! They come to the games (Heat vs. Knicks) (Dolphins vs. Jets) and they are the most ignorant group of fans you have ever met in your life. No one is forcing any of you to live in Florida, just go back from where you came from and spread your ignorance there!

  11. seattlesuperchronic - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:36 AM

    The knicks are a mess.

    • philtration - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      Take back what you said about the Knicks!

      New York is the Mecca of basketball…. in their minds.
      In the real world they are a team that has not won a damn thing in 40 years but don’t tell that to the Spike Lee and Billy Joel crowd.

  12. rodge1 - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    The best solution is to move the Knicks down to the D-League. That way they could have a winning record and the rest of America won’t have to look at Spike Lee on tv anymore. It’s a win win for us and Lin

  13. africanballer - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:50 AM

    I wouldn’t blame J-Lin for this loss

  14. killerbones - Feb 24, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    Hardly a “rout” or “cruise to victory”, though. NY didn’t play well at all and Miami played playoff-type ball. Obviously Miami’s defense shut down any offense NY has, including Lin, but in the big picture, I’m not looking at this game any differently than I would have back in November. The Knicks are the Knicks and the Heat is still the Heat. There were no surprises other than we’re actually talking about the Knicks now and how they played well enough to be within striking distance up until the 4th quarter.

  15. annes22 - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    Thank god that’s over. Now we can listen to something worthwhile, and it won’t be Lin hopefully anymore.
    The Heat just gave them a lesson last night. The Knicks have some work to do that’s obvious.

  16. southbeachtalent - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Them Knicks were struggLIN.

    Had to do it..

  17. schaffershokai - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    I think Lin would be great at this: http://youtu.be/VQ6dvKCfDRo

  18. cmbailey7384 - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    The Knicks as a whole struggled last night, but when you have eight turnovers the onus falls on you to be more careful with the ball, Jeremy Lin’s other stats had been masking whats been a problem for him since he started, he’s sloppy with the ball. As much as I hate writing this, Lin will get better over time, but for now, D’Antoni needs to teach this kid better fundamentals or other teams will just key on him like the Heat did and cause Lin to continue to be a turnover machine.

  19. limonadamas - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    The Heat may have the blueprint to stop the Knick offense, but I also think they’re one of the few teams that have the personnel to make that blueprint work. They have long, quick, athletic, versatile defenders at every position who are able to mix up defensive coverages, trap hard, hedge, and rotate quick enough back to defend the paint when there’s an opening on the weak side.

    It was amazing and frightening to watch.

  20. SOBEIT - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Yes, Jeremy Lin got exposed…exposed for being a young player with only a few weeks under his belt of real NBA experience as a starter. He obviously needs to work on a lot of things…but that was true before the game with the Heat even started.

    This is the year to just go out and play. Just try and make the playoffs and see how far you can go. During the offseason, Lin and the Knicks will have to work on a number of things to reduce the turnovers and increase team chemistry. Guess what, the Heat had to do the exact same thing last year. And look where they are now. Now I would say that the Heat are more talented across the board. They made it to the finals last year. And this years success is no surprise. This is what we expected the Heat to accomplish when they organized the team. But they were not organized to win against the Knicks…they were put together to win championships.

  21. reupjosh - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Hold up now… How did this article get published without any mention of “The Heat are devastating in the open court???”

  22. dysraw1 - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    I hate the heat

  23. uhemi - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    I love the Heat !

  24. ogbobbydeas - Feb 25, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    “LINVISIBLE”
    ©

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