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Will slap across face from Knicks finally wake Heat up?

Dec 7, 2012, 11:55 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Washington Wizards Getty Images

The Knicks are legit, give them their due. In Miami Thursday night, even without Carmelo Anthony, they were the aggressors. Raymond Felton attacked and he Heat tried to react. It’s early, but New York is positioning itself to be the threat to Miami in the East.

But let’s be honest — Miami has looked awful. Pretty much all season. Specifically their defense, which is now 23rd in the NBA in points surrendered per possession. They are coasting, acting like they can flip the switch, and they are finding the couple times they do that in games the opponent pushes back. Miami looks like a team not used to having the target on its back.

Maybe the Knicks coming down to Miami and essentially slapping them across the face will get their attention (because somehow losing to the lowly Wizards didn’t.). We think the Heat can turn it around because we’ve seen pretty much this exact roster defend in the past, but they are not doing it now.

After the game the Heat were saying the right things. LeBron went out for an extra workout and to get up some shots after the loss (even though he was one assist away from a triple double and wasn’t the problem) then told this to the Palm Beach Post:

“We’ve got work to do,” James said. “We can’t act like, OK, let’s just sweep this under the rug. We’ve got a lot of work to do. New York is a real team, they’ve got some real good players, and we understand that.”

Udonis Haslem — the elder spokesman for the Heat — was more direct speaking with the Palm Beach Post, saying the Heat need to get back to playing angry, like they did when everyone seemed to hate them with a white-hot passion.

“You watch teams on film, and they play a certain way, and then they come in against us, and it’s completely different,” Haslem said. “Teams are going to play at a high level when you’re the defending champions. We’ve got to understand that. We can’t come out and play cool, we can’t just accept the fact that they are making shots. You’ve got to understand that the hardest thing you’re ever going to do is defend this title, and people are going to play their hearts out against us, and we’ve got to play our hearts out. And we haven’t done that for four quarters yet. We have yet to see four quarters of angry, hatred basketball like we used to play when people hated us. And that’s partly my job as a captain. And I carry a chip on my shoulder, and I’ve got to get it back, and it’s going to have to translate to everybody.”

Chris Bosh went a step further, saying the Heat’s style — what Erik Spoelstra calls “space and pace” — may need to be slowed down. From Tom Haberstroh at ESPN’s Heat Index:

“It’s a lot of possessions,” Bosh said. “We should really slow down some and really put pressure on teams. I think sometimes we get into this place where we try to force things by trying to play too fast. Sometimes it is good but it has to be a balance….

“I think we had a lot of success when we were just taking our time,” Bosh said. “We don’t have to put it in our heads to just go. We’re a good team, we can pick you apart, whatever way you want it. If you want to play halfcourt, we can play halfcourt. If you want to play fullcourt, we can play that too. But we haven’t been in situations – I don’t even recall any this year – where we were just like, ‘Boy this is a slugfest out there, this is a heavyweight bout.'”

I’m not sure I agree with Bosh. With defense it’s about effort and energy — last year Miami used their athleticism and length to make you adjust to how they came at you on defense. They pressured you. This year they are reacting. Which means fewer turnovers and fewer easy buckets in transition (Miami is 11th in pace in the league, they are not lighting it up).

At some point this team will wake up. We’ll see if the Knicks were the alarm clock or if Miami just hit the snooze bar again.

  1. reupjosh - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    @72wasalongtimeago You might want to delete the first comment in on this article:

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/11/02/knicks-play-like-adults-spank-the-heat-in-home-opener/

  2. chargerdillon - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    The Knicks can talk about being legit when they beat a good team in the playoffs rather than the regular season.

    It’s a damn joke at this point to think two big wins in the first half of the regular season is an indicator of how the Knicks will produce in the playoffs.

    I like the Knicks, and I’d like to believe they’re for real, but I still don’t. The Heat have the killer instinct when it comes to the playoffs, not the regular season, they know better, just like the Spurs know better.

    There’s ZERO trophies for blowing teams out in the first half of the NBA’s regular season

    • nycalldayz - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      I agree it’s only one regular season game, but it’s embarassing on the Heat’s end to get blown out at home against a team without Melo or Stat. Give credit to the Knicks.

    • djeter220 - Dec 7, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      So shall we all refrain from making commentary on every team except for the Heat, seeing as they hold the trophy and have definitively proved something?

  3. somekat - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Is it me, or did they each have a different opinion of what is wrong

  4. nycalldayz - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    I know Kurt must of been mad when the Heat lost. LOL

  5. rodge1 - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Knicks played well and got a deserved win… With that said Miami is not going to play their swarming defense all season because it will wear them out come playoff-time.

  6. dls612 - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    LeBron needs help from wade, bosh And coach spo! ,especially wade Gabriel got that dude head all screwed up! I don’t care who questions my loyalty because this sht ain’t fun I go to work and have to deal with these Damn heat haters. I can criticize them cause that’s what true fans do! Wake up Miami!

  7. eventhorizon04 - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Unlikely.

    Look at the best regular season teams in the East and West the past couple of years – the Bulls and Spurs. Charles Barkley (correctly) described them as the 2 teams that play hard in every regular season game, and that’s how they end up with the #1 seed. However, how many championships have they won recently?

    The Boston Celtics are a great counter-example. They have made it a habit of stumbling through most of the regular season before playing good basketball heading into the playoffs, then making it to the 2nd and 3rd rounds despite being written off as “too old” and being described as “their championship window has closed” based on how they played in the regular season.

    Veteran teams really don’t care much about the regular season. And veteran NBA fans know better than to over-read regular season games.

    • eventhorizon04 - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      The Celtics and (especially) the Bulls have had the Heat’s number in the regular season, with both teams winning a majority of regular season games against the Heat since the Heat Big 3 joined up. In the 2010-2011 regular season, the Celtics went 3-1 against the Heat, and the Bulls swept the Heat (4-0). Last year, the Celtics went 3-1 against the Heat in the regular season.

      How important did those regular season games end up being in the playoffs?

      Well, those 2 teams are a combined 0-3 against the Heat in playoff series over that same 2-year period.

      Specifically, the Bulls and Celtics have gone a combined 5-12 against the Heat in playoff games, despite owning the Heat 10-2 in the regular season….meaning that consistently beating the Heat in the regular season hasn’t led to playoff success against the Heat.

      • barkley4life - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:53 PM

        Celtics fans are going to tell you that the great Avery Bradley/Chris Wilcox/Jeff Green would have neutralized the Heat and walked out of the building victors.

        Here comes the Homers in 3, 2, 1,…..

        P.S.

        Tony Allen just tweeted “You haven’t beaten Lebron in the playoffs since I left…”
        Kendrick Perkins retweeted “Yup….”

  8. barkley4life - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Spoelstra is still tinkering with lineups and sets. What the Heat found is last year Lebron in the post was devastating on opponents if they were hitting there 3’s. They are wearing it out a bit now though. They can go through the regular season using it to extend leads end of games etc but they still need to mix Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem more.

    I mean how great is that your having a problem playing at 80% and have the second best record in the East? Personally think DWade has either lost a step or that knee is still mending. His explosion isn’t there and he is relying on his inconsistent jumper way to much.

  9. meroyero - Dec 7, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Kurt, why do your article (as in story) titles always omit articles (as in grammar) like “the” or “a”?

  10. BigBeachBall - Dec 7, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Would the knicks have lost with melo in the lineup?

    • barkley4life - Dec 7, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      Who knows….it would have been a different game. Their ball movement was impeccable last night and most of that reason was Felton having the ball in his hands and breaking down the defense.

  11. lemfaxx - Dec 7, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    As long as they are in the top 4 thats ok. They are diffent team when it comes to the post season…

  12. badintent - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    It’s still raining in NY ……..raining 3s!!. they will set the NBA record this year. Just watch. They shoot 3s better than half the NBA does in FG ! Sick. Woodsen for Coach of the Year. He took a dismal team last year and raised it’s % by 200 base points.This year he got them fast out of the gate and that’s with major injuries to an All-Star Forward and important center backup plus their best perimeter defender.

  13. mazblast - Dec 8, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Teams that think they can just stroll into the playoffs and just turn it on to win a title are like letting your car sit for six months, jumping in, and assuming it will start. It may happen, it may not.

    Better to have it together during the regular season, even if not on a consistent basis, and know “it” is there.

    Right now the Heat remind me of some of those Laker teams that assumed a stroll through the playoffs after having won previously.

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