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No Carmelo, no problem. Knicks expose napping Heat defense in rout

Dec 7, 2012, 12:28 AM EDT

New York Knicks' Chandler celebrates a basket by his team against Miami Heat during their NBA basketball game in Miami Reuters

With New York, there is energy. There are guys willing to step up with Carmelo Anthony out. There is defense in the paint. There are guys making the extra pass and raining down threes.

In Miami I expect Jimmy Carter to come out and give a speech about malaise. Especially if he is talking about defense.

You would think that a couple of nights after the lowly Washington Wizards put up 105 points on the Heat and embarrassed their defense, they would come out on national television in full peak Ray Lewis mode — fired up and seeming to be everywhere. Nope. Not even close.

The result was Raymond Felton carving up the Knicks defense. There was Steve Novak and J.R. Smith and every New Yorker in the building not named Rasheed draining threes (he was 0-for-6).

The result was a 112-92 Knicks drubbing of the Heat.

These teams have played twice this season, the Knicks have thumped them twice. Only a fool makes a post-season prediction based on a Dec. 6 game, but those results should make the Heat take notice. There is no coasting to a repeat, and if you don’t spend the regular season building good habits the bad habits will end your playoff run.

The Knicks, with the best offense in the NBA coming into the game, put up a ridiculously efficient 117.4 points per 100 possessions number in this game — six better than their average coming in. The Heat came in with the 23rd ranked defense in the league, and it showed. The Knicks made threes and some tough shots, but they also seemed to get uncontested looks a lot.

The Heat are in a malaise on defense — we’ve seen this unit play it well before — and until they snap out of it teams that are playing well like the Knicks will thump them. The fact is the Heat play a defensive system based on using their athleticism and pressure to force turnovers and tough shots — they attack and force the offense to react. Or they are supposed to, that’s what they did last year. This year they are reacting. And if you play an aggressive style half-speed you pay.

Felton made them pay. The Knicks point guard took on the burden of creating shots, running a lot of high pick-and-roll with Tyson Chandler, and the Heat couldn’t stop it. Felton slashed into the lane and got a lot of hockey assists as New York showed fantastic ball movement all night. Then Felton stepped back and hit 6-of-10 threes.

It was a barrage of threes in the third quarter — 8-of-12 in the first nine minutes of the half — that won the Knicks the game. That is when they pulled away. New York had six players in double figures. At the same time Tyson Chandler did his thing, shutting off drives and the Knicks owned the paint.

Miami had LeBron. He was monster — 31 points on 20 shots, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.

Heat players not named LeBron shot 37.5 percent. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were a combined 6-of-25.

LeBron took it on himself, getting in some late-game shooting and seeming to want to better himself after the Heat loss. That’s what leaders do. But this wasn’t on him.

The Knicks are for real. They are showing it. We can ask if they can sustain it and what happens when Amare Stoudemire returns, but don’t ask if they are legit.

The Heat will be legit, too. If they ever get around to it.

  1. highpowered350 - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    BALL DON’T LIE !!!!

    • florida727 - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:21 AM

      The most important phrase of Kurt’s entire article…

      “Only a fool makes a post-season prediction based on a Dec. 6 game…”

      I’m not a Heat fan. In fact, can’t stand them. But the regular season, evidenced by post-season history to back me up, means virtually nothing. Totally different game in the playoffs. All you have to do is get there. If I’m a Heat fan, and I thank God I’m not, I’m really not worried.

      • miamatt - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:46 AM

        @florida727:

        100% correct.

  2. Mr. Wright 212 - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    The Heat’s defense was not that bad. Give the Knicks credit, they did what teams have to do in order to beat Miami regardless of how well they’re playing defense — swinging the ball, making the extra pass, drive, dish and hit the open looks. Out of 43 3 point shots (making 18), all but maybe three or four of them were wide open looks. The Heat are not invincible, and the only way they’re going to beat the Knicks 4 out of 7 THIS YEAR (because 2011-2012 is over) is hoping that the Knicks go ice cold from 3 — because the Knicks D is BETTER THAN THEIRS.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:36 AM

      Plus, they do not turn the ball over. Nine per average on season, seven tonight. Knicks don’t beat themselves, so you have to be on point offensively. You know, more than just LeBron putting up his triple double average.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:53 AM

        Your comments were spot on. Knicks played great. They would have beaten anyone tonight.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:07 AM

        Wade needs to step up. LeBron cannot do it all alone. Triple double every other game it seems, but Wade and Bosh take nights off. Against teams like this, it won’t work.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM

        But before all of you break out your popsicles and start sucking, please remember that the Knicks were a desperate, 20 foot, buzzer-beating, fall away prayer shot from losing to Charlotte about 36 hours ago.

        Long season.

      • elledaddy - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:28 AM

        @ 1972wasalongtimeago…

        Them being a 20 ftr from losing to the Bobcats is kind of a stretch considering that they WASNT losing when JR shot the ball.

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:50 AM

      The Knicks ball movement was fantastic. Even talked about that in the post. But you can’t have watched the Heat last season and say this is the same defense.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:53 AM

        They’ve had lapses, but the teams that have beaten them have pounded them inside and moved the ball exceptionally. Including the Wizards. It was their weakness last year, just that no one exploited it when it mattered most.

      • davidly - Dec 7, 2012 at 5:39 AM

        Shoulda been Indiana in the finals.

      • majorhavoc83 - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM

        Yeah. Mike Woodson is doing a great job with the team! The players have clearly bought in, and their play on the court is the proof. The Knicks are legit. My only concern is the age of the team. This is a LONG season, and I hope they can hold up. I’m looking forward to seeing them at The Garden in a few months!

  3. judalation - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    The Heat used to bully the Knicks and basically play around with them like little playthings… but with a few new players like Jason Kid… and Felton protecting the ball and spreading it around to the many play makers on this team… They just punched the bully in the Face. When Shump and Stodi come back… we are taking their lunch money!

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:54 AM

      Just as the Knicks did to them for almost 15 years before these past 3-4 years…

  4. sbmcintosh36 - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    Gotta give credit to Felton for “carving up the knicks defense” if that can be done anything can happen!!!

    • badintent - Dec 7, 2012 at 2:20 AM

      U MEAN THE HEAT’S D

      • moosetoga - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:54 AM

        Now you’re onto something.

    • majorhavoc83 - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:26 AM

      Right. That should have said, “…caring up the Heat’s defense.”

      • majorhavoc83 - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:27 AM

        *sigh*

        And now I’m a dummy for not typing “carving” correctly. :-P

  5. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    Talk about The S.I. Jinx. Jeez.

  6. savvybynature - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    The Heat’s defensive system requires a lot of energy, and it’s a long season. The Heat are just surviving until the playoffs, and as long as they are near the top of their conference in wins they’ll probably continue to coast to some degree until they need more.
    It’s probably smart, actually, as they are easily the best team in their conference with the Knicks looking like the only legit threat at this point.

  7. rns46 - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    nets look good but knicks is better hats off to mike woodson that defense is for real

  8. e39er - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    I get that its still early to judge, but Knicks have strengthen and exploited the Heats most glaring weaknesses, Point & Center, LeBron as great as he is cannot guard 5 players at once, he’s Miami’s key in their defense (and offense) but when you have a true attacking point guard and a dominant defensive center who can also basically run pick and rolls it opens up for shooters for which the Knicks who have plenty is spelling the Heats losses, both games Mia lost by an average of 20, and again its still early but the formula in beating the Heat is there, Miami is lacking a defensive perimeter wing a la Tony Allen type of player to go after the shooters, as great as LeBron is he cannot fight over a screen set by Tyson all the time to rotate in time to cover their shooters and with Wade taking a step back, i still believe in this year its Knicks over the Heats

  9. badintent - Dec 7, 2012 at 2:24 AM

    WOODSEN HAD the PERFECT GAME PLAN, KIDD AND FELTON RAN IT LIKE $$$$$$$$$$$

  10. progress2011 - Dec 7, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    Bosh is the SOFTEST 6’11 dude I’ve EVER seen. I’m gonna go on record and say, he is gonna be the first ex- All Star caliber player to “Come Out” !

    When dude plays against Garnett or other Alpha males, dude seems to just be happy they are sweating on him !

    Witness the fall of a falling star…D-Model !

    Superstars in the league may have a bad game or the occasional injury. But D-Wade can start focusing on his full time modeling gig because he obviously is not interested in showing up and playing ball EVERYNIGHT !!!

    Looked as if LBJ was back in Cleveland…playing with a bunch of players that don’t want to or can’t play.

  11. 00maltliquor - Dec 7, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    What I tell you about this years Knicks y’all!!! Where’s that fool knightrider and all the other dudes that tried to clown me on my Knicks predictions!

  12. cantonbound13 - Dec 7, 2012 at 3:55 AM

    The Knicks are the best team in the league at protecting the ball. With 2 point guards in the back court & an all star caliber Center they expose the Heat’s biggest weakness of the pick and roll with the big man. They are legit & will be the Heat’s biggest obstacle in repeating. With all that said we Knick fans should never expect any compliments from Kurt. It will always be an excuse why the Heat lost, even if they get blown out twice by a better, deeper team.

  13. dko83 - Dec 7, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    D Wade -33 tonight, OOF. Not even close to the same guy he used to be.

  14. bengzki - Dec 7, 2012 at 5:41 AM

    A big part of the Heat and Knicks offense is the three point shot.
    No question both teams have great shooters in them regarding this.

    The big difference?
    NYK has Chandler who love to rebound and play some D.

    Didn’t they learn a lesson when he is still with the Mavs?

    They can’t always expect that threes would always fall, so it is always great to have a player who can do what Chandler can do.

  15. fanofevilempire - Dec 7, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    Ladies and gentlemen, the lights on at the mecca……………

    Woody is just the right coach, he will get into your face and he challenges them.

  16. fanofevilempire - Dec 7, 2012 at 6:52 AM

    I hope Amare accepts his second unit roll with JR, NOVAK,SHEED,
    AND WAIT TIL SHUMPERT gets back,
    oh boy………………………

  17. moosetoga - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    “The result was Raymond Felton carving up the Knicks defense.”

    HURR

  18. cnyphinfan - Dec 7, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    You cannot beat this Knicks team playing small. Bosh gets shut down by Tyson, and even when Tyson goes out Wallace and even Kurt Thomas are too physical for Bosh. Miami beat up on the Knicks when Joel Anthony was clogging the middle and fighting with Tyson…….that allowed Bosh to roam against the PF on the Knicks, usually STAT. Putting Bosh at the center negates one of Miami’s clear advantages at the PF position.

    Oh and Wade may either not have anything left or he may be resting until May/June. No matter what it will be fun to see it play out!

  19. jcmeyer10 - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Two things:

    1) Didn’t we just read an article saying how the Heat’s defense is finally coming together?

    2) We are missing the requisite Kurt’s LeBron love joke, and I am simply not funny enough to make that happen.

  20. loungefly74 - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    The Knicks are a happening team…just dont tell Zeek…he may ruin their sh*t…again.

    Basketball is better when the Knicks are rolling.

    • kingfatooty - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      Funny how the Knicks are worth the most in the NBA and we all know their history. Even Zeek can’t ruin the Mighty Orange and Blue in the Big Apple.

  21. doublezero74 - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    These knickerbockers look like they’re in it for the long haul this year. They got their most complete team since mid 90s teams. That being said I want to see how they stack up against the Celtics as that’s who they’ll have to go through to get the division. Brooklyn too but screw them

  22. miamatt - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Congratulations to the Knicks and their fans- New York has been the best team in the East thus far, and have handled Miami twice.

    But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and act like what is happening right now has any real bearing on what will be happening in May. And let’s not lose sight of the fact that these games mean a lot more for a team like the Knicks- wanting to prove they are among the league’s elite- than a team like the Heat, fresh off a championship and still over FOUR MONTHS from the season that really matters.

    • kingfatooty - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:03 AM

      haha just wrote my piece then glanced at yours. We are talking about PLAYOFFS. Playoffs?

  23. kingfatooty - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Ya, but is this gonna happen in the Playoffs? I’m a die hard Knicks fan and we all know they gotta show this in the playoffs. Very Impressive and really good start for the knicks. It’s been awesome watching them this year. But lets have this strength in the playoffs.

  24. heat256 - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Knicks beat the Heat bad twice now, and hat’s off to them. If that doesn’t motivate the Heat to get back to pkaying good D like they are known for, it will be a long season. Perhaps they re getting too accustomed to looking to the playoffs, but what doesn’t get fixed now gets exposed then. I’m not gonna write the Heat off or anoint NY best in the East just on this sample size, though. It just shows where the two teams are in respect to their strengths and weaknesses. MIA better start addressing theirs quick.

  25. eventhorizon04 - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Good win by the Knicks.

    The Knicks are playing better basketball than the Heat right now, that’s indisputable.

    However, the playoffs are over 4 months away, and longtime NBA fans know a lot can change in a few months, so no need to over-read 2 regular season games.

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