Dec 7, 2012, 12:28 AM EST
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 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.
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.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
Bryant has played heavy minutes so far this season.
Nov 24, 2014, 7:46 PM EST
Finally, some good news for the Bulls.
Nov 24, 2014, 7:27 PM EST
This would make three Lakers players out for the season with injuries.
Nov 24, 2014, 7:19 PM EST
“I think it would benefit the league to raise the minimum age from 19 to 20.” —Adam Silver
Nov 24, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
Are the 76ers the worst team in NBA history?
Nov 24, 2014, 5:31 PM EST
Well, at least Howard tried.
Nov 24, 2014, 4:45 PM EST
Things are not coming together as quickly as some expected in Cleveland.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:44 PM EST
The bottom of the rankings are pretty obvious, the top harder to put together.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:08 PM EST
It’s in the hair
Nov 24, 2014, 2:33 PM EST
Former No. 1 pick facing felony battery charges
Nov 24, 2014, 1:55 PM EST
Bulls point guard says he’ll return tomorrow against the Nuggets at the latest
Nov 24, 2014, 1:17 PM EST
Pelicans guard dealing with yet another injury
Nov 24, 2014, 12:38 PM EST
Rockets without their two best defensive players
Nov 24, 2014, 11:38 AM EST
Trail Blazers star keeps elevating game. Will he ever level off?
Nov 24, 2014, 10:50 AM EST
Oklahoma City point guard throws down on Warriors
Nov 24, 2014, 10:14 AM EST
Do you prefer the original or the emulator?
Nov 24, 2014, 9:35 AM EST
Utah would reportedly send Jeremy Evans and Toure’ Murry to Brooklyn
Nov 24, 2014, 9:04 AM EST
Rockets center has missed last two games after plasma therapy on knee
Nov 24, 2014, 8:30 AM EST
Memphis can offer more money than anyone else, but Gasol will have options.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:00 AM EST
Wes did Gallinari wrong.
- Lakers forward Xavier Henry ruptured Achilles in practice, out for season 20
- PBT Extra: Our Thanksgiving week turkeys, starting with the 76ers 1
- LeBron James on Cavaliers’ struggles: “I stink” 15
- PBT’s NBA Power Rankings: Life is good in the Golden State 12
- Damian Lillard, as stature grows, refuses to become content 5
- PBT’s Sunday Night NBA Winners/Losers: You may want to try and cover Marc Gasol 11
- Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: “We want him to be 100 percent” for the playoffs 12
- Report: Free agent market for Jeff Green is as strong ‘if not stronger’ than it is for Rajon Rondo 20