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Knicks play like adults, spank the Heat in home opener

Nov 2, 2012, 11:23 PM EDT

Miami Heat v New York Knicks Getty Images

The advanced age of the Knicks has been a source of comedy this offseason, but the Miami Heat probably don’t think the Knicks are much of a joke after getting blown out, 104-84, at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks may be short on speed and athleticism with their role players, but it’s evident already that they’re a significantly smarter team than they have been in the past. Spacing has always been an issue on Carmelo Anthony led teams – particularly when Amar’e Stoudemire shares the floor with him. Tonight, however, the Knicks spaced the floor perfectly and actually gave Anthony room to operate from the high post and on the block. The result? New York knocked down an incredible 19 3-pointers, the area where Miami’s juggernaut team defense is most susceptible.

Of course, floor spacing doesn’t mean much without great passing, but the Knicks had that in spades. Even though Anthony’s final stats might not show it (30 points, 10-for-28 shooting, 2 assists), he was a willing passer and had a handful of kickout passes that led to hockey assists. Steve Novak, who may be the best shooter in basketball, was often the beneficiary of great swing passes to the corner (17 points, 5-for-8 from deep). Heck, even J.R. Smith caught the passing bug as a slash and kick player, and finished with 6 of the Knicks 27 assists.

As effective as the offense was, give the defense some credit, too. It’s not easy to hold down a team like Miami, but there was a surprising lack of defensive lapses from the Knicks tonight. Wade (15 points) and James (23) got going a bit at times, but Miami’s role players were almost completely neutralized. Instead of over-helping on Wade and James and leaving shooters alone, the Knicks played the two stars straight up for the most part, aided by having a serious rim protector in Tyson Chandler behind them. Again, that’s smart basketball.

For years now, the Knicks have been assembled like a fantasy basketball team. They were a bunch of individual talents who got their individual stats, and that was it. And although that culture won’t change with one game, and there are still some fit concerns once Stoudemire comes back, it’s nice to think that after years of selfish basketball, the Knicks are finally grown up.

  1. 1972wasalongtimeago - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    That was our gift to New Yorkers and all those who have suffered so much this past week. You deserve to enjoy yourselves tonight. We hope you enjoyed your night. You deserve it.

    • WatchThis - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:01 AM

      That’s exactly what I thought too, after Wade’s tweet about not playing this game. I believe they played slow for the city. Definitely a gift.

      • badintent - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:58 AM

        It still must be summer in Miami…..raining. Raining 3s.. . all day….all night …..long.
        Great D Heat, must have been the hangover you got Clubbing with the Bacardiheads. Is Delonte back in town doing LBJ’s mama?

    • packersareandwillalwaysbebetterthanthebears - Nov 3, 2012 at 1:06 AM

      No. Just no.

      Normally, you can act like an entitled brat thinking the Heat should and will win every game out there and get away with it by acting it off as a joke. But now, don’t bring a true tragedy into the situation. To say it was “your gift” should make you feel horrible. The Heat anf yoi especially are entitled to and own nothing. They lost, they were the inferior team tonight.

      Joke around when the lives of people arent stolen away from them. Joke around when cities aren’t destroyed because of a natural disaster.

      They do deserve something. Prayer and support. Don’t act like you helped in any of that because you think your favorite sport team lost on purpose.

    • abchome - Nov 3, 2012 at 1:47 AM

      It’s noble to give away this much when you’re not that rich at all.

    • cantonbound13 - Nov 3, 2012 at 6:00 AM

      You’re a joke. You’re team got bitch slapped & we didn’t even have our second best player. Bottom line is the Heat won’t do anything this year. They’re going to need another lockout or David Sterns help.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Nov 3, 2012 at 8:03 AM

        This was Favre/Strahan 2.0. Just accept the gift, along with the quarter million, and say thank you. If you lived in NY, you would.

    • cantonbound13 - Nov 3, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      ’72!!!! You couldn’t wait till a story about this game came out, could you? You were all ready to gloat about your overrated team winning, unfortunately they got humiliated by a team without 2 of its starters.

  2. savvybynature - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    It would be nice if the Knicks got it together, and I’m not even a Knicks fan. The East has been weak aside from the Heat. It’d be good for the conference.

    Unfortunately I don’t see it happening unless Stoudemire is willing to come off the bench. He could be instant PnR offense for the second unit, but his defense makes him a liability to start and especially close games.

  3. dondada10 - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    STAT has to be the 6th man when he returns. Have him back-up the powerforward and the center. The Knicks can be dynamic with a scorer like that off the bench.

  4. brianjoates - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    The Knicks are going to be tough. This is a team Melo is comfortable on, in the past you have seen him feel like he has to carry his NBA teams, but when he goes to the Olympics he is stress free and thrives, because he trusts his teammates on those USA teams. You heard him say at halftime he has guys who know how to play basketball, so Melo trusts these guys. Melo might be your MVP this season.

    The Heat are still the best team ,especially in a seven game series against any team in the league, because they play such an up tempo game, no team will last seven games at that pace. Eddy Curry might find his way back to Miami to add some beef for the likes of Boston and NY.

  5. lakerluver - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Good for the Knickles. Melo was the best player on the court, tonight.

  6. eflem80 - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    The Knicks spanked them because they out played them….period. This pathetic garbage I’m reading about it being a “gift” is incredibly lame. Under Woodson the team was one of the best defensive teams in the league…and that was without players like Camby, Brewer, & Kidd….all great defenders @ their respective positions….and that’s what we saw tonight. Sure the 3’s were probably a result of the home crowd energy…but that wouldn’t have stop the, from getting the “W”. Bron was well defended by Brewer all night which also meant Melo could expend more energy on offense….believe what your eyes saw people. I know everyone wants to crown the Heat champs since opening night but its a loooooooong season and the Knicks, Pacers, & Sixers all spent their summer building their team to beat the Heat…..someone is bound to be successful on some nights without it being a “gift” from the Heat.

    • brianjoates - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:33 AM

      Heat v Knicks in the Eastern Conference finals after Miami knocks out Boston in the semis would be great.

      Glad the NBA hasn’t missed a step from last season. No major injuries and no player drama with their team and it will be a great season.

      • liamj55 - Nov 3, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        The Sixers are going to the conference finals vs the Heat. Not the Knicks, not the Celtics, THE PHILADLEPHIA 76ERS! – mark down. Those other two teams are a 150 years old.

    • scalfor3 - Nov 3, 2012 at 1:43 AM

      I agree with you except for the part where you called Kidd a “great defender at his position.” Maybe in 2002, dude.

  7. 00maltliquor - Nov 3, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    You guys believers now? I’ve been telling you, this team is going to be mad nice, especially on D.

    • southbeachtalent - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:05 PM

      Lets see where we stand by game 82..

  8. dirtyjerseysports - Nov 3, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    Gift? Like when LeBron introduced Delonte to his mother?

  9. sportsfan83 - Nov 3, 2012 at 2:04 AM

    Gift? That’s one of the dumbest comments I’ve ever heard. Give credit where it’s due,Knicks played great tonight. It’s hilarious that some Heat fans excuse for getting blown out is Miami let NY win due to Hurricane Sandy or that since Wade thought it should’ve been postponed that the Heat weren’t prepared.

    You guys aren’t invincible and can and will be beaten from time to time. It’s ONE game still 81 left,so get over it and move on. NY was just the better team tonight but overall Miami is still better & that’s coming from a Knick fan.

  10. e39er - Nov 3, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    Biggest difference now and last years Knicks is with the addition of Kidd and Felton, the double headed pg monster is too much for Mia to guard, I always thought the Heats weakness lies with their pg and center position and NY has plenty of both in those positions, with Kidd and Felton providing dribble penetration and kicking out to shooters combined with Melo’s ISO scoring the Knicks can beat the Heats in a 7 game series, Lebron a great defender cannot be everywhere at the same time, Wade is a overrated perimeter defender and Bosh is soft on the inside.

  11. lucky5936 - Nov 3, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    It is great to see the Heat fans become a little humbled. They needed a dose of reality. Thank you for the “Gift” New York!

  12. nomorsacbball - Nov 3, 2012 at 4:29 AM

    how can you say kidd isn’t a good defender. watch what he did to Kobe when the mavs swept la 2 seasons ago. hard a$$ d. keep underestimating.

  13. BigBeachBall - Nov 3, 2012 at 5:40 AM

    Having Kidd makes all the difference to this team… Melo and JR were asleep before he arrived…

  14. ohnothatguy - Nov 3, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Wow wow! Relax with the gift bs! Your biy lebron wants to be better then mj, wants to beat the 6 rings the 72 win season blah blah blah. Mj would of never gifted anything bc he was a beast and never wanted to lose. The ultimate competitor. He didnt whine and cry every time he got called for a foul or a non call like lebron, yeh its early maybe it was the nite for the knicks maybe it was the emotion who knows. But wait till they meet again and see what happens from both sides. Maybe it was an off nite maybe it wasnt, i hope it was just the knicks finally figuring it out, but to call it a gift is despicable! If you heat fans really wanna run your mouths abt gifts how abt that refereeing in the finals, how abt stern on his knees doin anything to get tv ratings, anything to get lebron his 1st ring, any real sports fan knew the refs blew every game of that finals did everything they could to help lebron win. That just shows you that he is not the best n never will be. All the superstars in the best didnt need to join a team with 2 other superstars n need the help of the refs to finally win, now all u heat n lebron fans just shut it! Hope the knicks are real and hope they win it all! Last night was great but not jumping thinking championship just yet.

    • miamatt - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      Somewhere in there are some coherent points, but MJ didn’t “whine or cry” about fouls? If he wasn’t smack talking his opponents, he was working the refs. I don’t mean that as criticism, but it is what all professional players do, the elite ones especially. To hold that against Lebron is a joke, you must ignore it when players you favor do it.

  15. wu360 - Nov 3, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    1972wasalongtimeago is a D-bag in it’s purest form. You should be ashamed of yourself for your comments. Bet you wouldn’t run your mouth like that on 161st St. chump. The only that was given was some humble pie to the Heat. Eat up and enjoy boys.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Nov 3, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      Lighten up Francis. This is a stupid blog about basketball. I’m not running for freaking president.

      • southbeachtalent - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        Hey they only get to talk trash ever so often, let them have their moment..

  16. brutl - Nov 3, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    I’ll give credit to the knicks for playing well
    But the heat just plain were not into this game.
    Enjoy the early xmas (gift)

  17. rodge1 - Nov 3, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Was a good win for Knicks and NY… 19 three-pointers won’t happen again though so enjoy it…. Sid Rosenberg aka cantonbitch13 thinks Heat ‘won’t do anything’ for the third year in a row. Predicting sports is not your specialty Sid, stick to your specialty: sniffing Marino’s underwear

    • cantonbound13 - Nov 3, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      I’m not Sid Rosenberg. That’s insulting. I’m actually a NY fan that can’t stand Sid.

  18. dysraw1 - Nov 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    the question is was last night an aberration, or is this gonna be our knicks team for the year. well earlier i spoke about cultural change, its a quiet an subdued change that J kidds mere presents brings about. this team will not be the pushovers that they have been, simply because J Kidd won’t settle for less. so last night the stars aligned and the Knicks beat the Heat yeah right, believe what you will

  19. cantonbound13 - Nov 3, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    The Heat are going to be our bitches once again! We’re back!

  20. southbeachtalent - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Fire Spo, trade Wade!!! Blow it up!!

    The Knicks are back?? hahahahahahahaha

    We were lethargic out there, good win for the Knicks.

  21. mrgeek100 - Nov 3, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Glad you guys think 1 games means something, cause I remember the Knicks beating the Heat in a similar way last season, but when it mattered in april they came up 3 games short and the trophy is in Mia. So before you guys get all hype remember history always repeats itself

  22. eflem80 - Nov 4, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    ^^^^dumbest comment of the year ward goes to you sir. The Knicks knocked the Heat out the playoffs three years in a row during the 90’s…did “history repeat itself” last year??? SMH, half the team that was there last year aren’t this year…Barron Davis (the starting PG for that series) isn’t even in the league this year dude…what THIS team does has NOTHING to do with last years team…..period.

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