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Knicks continue recent strong play with win over Heat

Jan 10, 2014, 12:11 AM EDT

lebron james  carmelo anthony AP

NEW YORK – The Knicks got their third straight victory and fourth in five games by taking care of the Heat 102-92 on Thursday, and while everyone on both sides pointed to New York’s defense as the reason behind their success on this night, offensively it was as simple as the team finally knocking down some shots.

“We’re starting to figure it out defensively a little bit,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said. “I felt our traps and rotations were pretty good. And then when we had to switch, guys set down and really took it upon themselves to try to keep the ball in front and not give up plays at the rim. I thought that was the difference tonight.”

“A lot of late rotations, loose balls and offensive rebounds kind of broke the momentum,” Erik Spoelstra said outside the visitors’ locker room afterward. “Offensively, we were not really up to our game in terms of moving the ball, trusting the pass. We were more stagnant than normal and that hurts.”

It’s tough to trust the pass when there were so many errant ones being fired all over the place. Miami appeared to be out of sync all night long, but it’s unclear just how much of that had to do with what the Knicks were doing. It’s true New York limited switching and kept players in front of them for the most part, but the Heat were out of sorts, and had far more than their usual share of sloppy and disjointed possessions.

The Heat were far from shut down by the Knicks defense in the second half; they shot 54.5 percent from the field and committed just seven turnovers over the final two periods. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 52 points on 23-of-32 shooting, often getting into the paint seemingly at will.

But they simply couldn’t stop the Knicks.

Carmelo Anthony was matched up with James most of the night, and overcame a slow 6-of-16 start to finish the game by hitting six of his last eight shots. The Knicks as a team shot 63.2 percent from the field over the final 24 minutes, and hit eight of their 14 second-half attempts from three-point distance.

“They did a good job of junking it up,” Chris Bosh said. “A lot of switches. It took us a while to figure out, I don’t think we ever really got into a good rhythm offensively. There weren’t many plays that we could go back to. It was tough, and I mean, we’re not going to play well offensively every night, but that’s when our defense really has to keep us in the game.”

And it didn’t.

The Knicks were without several of their normal rotation players, but the team is beginning to hit its stride nonetheless. Tyson Chandler was unavailable due to an upper respiratory infection, Beno Udrih missed the game due to a knee injury, and then there was J.R. Smith, who was benched by Woodson after his consecutive games with shoe-untying antics got him fined $50,000 by the league office.

Woodson refused to address the Smith situation at all before the game, and stuck to those non-responses afterward even after Smith’s DNP-CD that came as a surprise.

“Not gonna comment on that, on J.R.,” Woodson said. “Just talk about the game.”

“It was a joke, but a joke gone wrong,” Smith said afterward, and also mentioned that he came to the arena fully expecting to play, and hadn’t had a conversation with Woodson at any point about his status.

The players who did produce, however, did so at a higher level than usual, especially offensively. Still, the way the Miami offense appeared to be so extraordinarily out of control had the Heat searching for answers, which kept coming back to crediting the New York defense.

“They did a good job of switching everything and keeping bodies in front of us,” James said. “For the most part, it worked.”

  1. money2long - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:33 AM

    hey probasketballtalk,
    i remember you guys had an article here forecasting better days for the nets and knicks. kudos. so far so good.

    • asimonetti88 - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      Despite their struggles so far, they have too much talent to not at least string together a few wins.

  2. fanofevilempire - Jan 10, 2014 at 1:59 AM

    good win, with the home games coming up they can put together a streak of wins.

  3. rickyspanish - Jan 10, 2014 at 4:30 AM

    Last year this article would’ve had way over twenty comments by now. Funny how things change

    • cantonbound13 - Jan 10, 2014 at 8:06 AM

      It’s because the NBA sucks right now. Former players have been very vocal about the lack of talent. There is a very good chance Indian vs San Antonio will be the Finals, talk about boring. That’s why Stern put the fix in the past few years.

      • ryanrockzzz - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:50 AM

        If there were less teams, the talent would be better. Star players always think they had the “best” era of basketball. This era of basketball has two (LeBron and Kobe) of the best players ever. Not to mention Durant, PG24 and Tim Duncan all are elite talents, and in Duncan’s case HOF talent.

        If you think Indiana and San Antonio would be boring, that’s all well and good, but both of those teams play good basketball.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jan 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        The NBA sucks bc the Heat have nothing more to prove. Only reason the reg season had been interesting for the past 3 years was bc with every Heat game, the outcome of mankind and all civilization was at stake. Now? Doesn’t matter.

      • cantonbound13 - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        Nothing you say will upset me on a week Jeff Ireland was fired. Still celebrating bro!!! Dolphins will always be my first love!

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jan 10, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        Ah yes. Congrats on the Ireland firing. I know you HATED Ireland. Can’t believe it took this long, and I can’t believe how Ross (reportedly) tried to keep him in a reduced role and more money. You’d think Ross has never fired anyone before. Just fire the freaking guy dude. Show some balls for chrissakes.

        I know Ross wants to win, and I know he cares, and I know he won’t pinch pennies; but he’s got to get his act together as an NFL owner. If not, won’t matter who the GM is. Won’t matter who the coach is. Won’t matter who the “capologist” is. They’ll all be after each others throats, and none of them will be able to perform well.

        Anyway. Just relax and enjoy. And it’s not too late for you to climb aboard. You still have this year. Get on board before it’s too late. Once in a lifetime bro, and you’re missing it.

  4. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jan 10, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    Jeez, 7am and I’m only the 4th comment? Isn’t the world a much better place now?

    Anyway, add the NYK to the list that includes the Nets, Pistons, Celtics & Bulls. Since the race for the top 2 seeds in the East is boring, the Heatvare doing their part to make the race for the last 2 seeds interesting. Once again, you’re welcome NBA.

    • cantonbound13 - Jan 10, 2014 at 7:20 AM

      The road is going to be tougher this year without Daddy Stern. Once again however I must give you credit for being the only Heat fan to show up after a loss. The other bandwagon cowards are silent as usual, yet they’d be on here the minute the game was over had they won spewing hate. Stay classless bandwagoners.

    • money2long - Jan 10, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      upon seeing the final score of the heat loss, antistratfordian banished himself to an unknown cave.
      dude would’ve had something to say by now had the heat won.

  5. cantonbound13 - Jan 10, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    4-1 last 5 games vs the Heat. Imagine if they took PEDs & evened the playing field. As usual Princess Leaha, JimmyJohn & Roger dogger are no where to be found after a loss. I know they are taking the loss hard, that’s all that matters.

    • fanofthegame79 - Jan 10, 2014 at 7:18 AM

      It’s the regular season, buddy. Remember when the Pacers, the Bulls, the Celtics, etc. all “owned” the Heat in the regular season only to get beat down in the playoffs? It’s a good win, don’t get me wrong – and the Knicks are looking better. But I don’t think Heat fans fear the Knicks if they meet up in the post-season.

      • cantonbound13 - Jan 10, 2014 at 7:29 AM

        I understand it’s regular season. My point is it doesn’t mean anything in the big picture, but the beauty of it is it kills the bandwagons knowing they can’t talk trash after the game. Like I said before it’s comical how these cowards disappear after a loss but had they won they’d be spewing hate, even after a regular season game.

      • fanofevilempire - Jan 10, 2014 at 7:46 AM

        LeBron should be fined 50 grand for kissing fat, ugly white woman sitting courtside, that is just nasty.

        -Shoelace Bandit

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 10, 2014 at 7:51 AM

      why worry about fools who don’t watch Knickerbocker games, some people think it’s cute to
      kick dirt on them just because they play for NYC, but no worries we NY’ers take our hits and keep on getting up, we are not punks!

      • cheathamhouse1 - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:34 AM

        What’s a Knickerbocker anyway?

      • fanofevilempire - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM

        what’s a cheathamhouse1?

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jan 10, 2014 at 7:51 AM

      The Heat have the 4th-best home-court advantage in the league according to the NBA general managers (the Knicks don’t make the top 6, which is all they list):

      http://www.nba.com/news/2013-14-nba-gm-survey/

      But obsess on the Heat’s supposedly lousy fans if you have to. It’s a stressful world (especially when your team is below .500) and everyone needs a hobby.

      • fanofevilempire - Jan 10, 2014 at 8:00 AM

        I have no idea what you speak of, wtf is wrong with you?
        why don’t you find a girl to play with, Broward must have 1 girl that would
        do you a favor.

      • marcusfitzhugh - Jan 10, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        @gofinsgoheatfloria – Lets go by what you said, “the Knicks don’t have a home court advantage.” Does that make New York’s win over the heat more impressive or less impressive? So no home court advantage, and neither Chandler nor JR played. Have you got an obscure survey for that?

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 10, 2014 at 7:57 AM

      I remember I wrote in a post a few weeks ago the Knickerbocker at least would have two good building pieces in Shumpert and Hardaway if they traded some guys at the deadline and get some picks to rebuild and some fool replied that the two players were not building blocks.
      This is why I sometimes ignore the posts.

      • sellahh - Jan 10, 2014 at 8:33 AM

        Yeah, well, if Shumper who can only spot up offensively and Hardaway who can’t guard a chair are your building blocks then good luck. I refuse to be tricked into this little stretch the Knicks are having, they’re still an awful team with no defensive principles and the fact that Miami helped them doesn’t make them a good defensive team. Hell, it doesn’t make them an average defensive team.
        But I guess it’s this time of the year when all NY guys are crawling out of their caves.

  6. saint1997 - Jan 10, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    Feel like the Knicks are doing well now but if they want to compete they need to add another young body who can actually play minutes, preferably at the 3. That may mean having to trade Hardaway Jr, simply because of the logjam at 2 and he’s the only asset but if they could get back a Mo Harkless or Terrence Ross it would be well worth it

  7. sellahh - Jan 10, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    Hey, Knicks have been switching for what, 30 games now? It was bound to work once. The lazy Knicks beating the sloppy Heat. Meh. On ot the next one. Knicks will surely find a chink in that Philly’s tank and manage to lose, somehow, someway.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 10, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      you are so cute, ripping the knickerbockers and we don’t even know what team you root for, that is a punk move, but keep on hating brother and keep your team a secret because I don’t care what you think.
      did you would know the knicks top six players have played two games together, but you know what I won’t go with that argument because you don’t even watch basketball you just come here
      to post cute statements.

    • ranfan12 - Jan 10, 2014 at 2:01 PM

      So the way you’re talking is that the miami heat shouldn’t be proud to be at the top of a terrible eastern conference right? Or that the wins they get over sorry teams don’t matter right? lol come on now

  8. cruzan80 - Jan 10, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Do you think the Heat are an above “average” defensive team? The Heat are currently ranked 7th. I ask this because if you do (which I’m sure you do), how do you explain the Knicks being ranked 8th since you don’t think they’re an “average” defensive team.

    BTW, they’ve been switching since last season…when they ranked 6th all year…so I think it’s safe to say that its worked more than once. Tyson Chandler missing 6 weeks might have much more to do with what they’ve done on defense over the past 30 games than what they’ve done successfully for over 82 games last year.

  9. jbeagles23 - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    Surprised the ny news papers didn’t make the headlines about the Knicks winning the title cause last night was the most meaningful game of the season for that lousy team

  10. jolink653 - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Knicks outplayed the Heat yesterday, so you can stop with all the “the Heat just didn’t care” or “the Heat were sloppy” garbage. Knicks forced Miami into some turnovers and took advantage. I’m not overreacting and acting like this was Game 7 of the Finals, but you can’t deny this was a huge win for a team trying to turn the season around, and it was more impressive that they did it without a sick Chandler and JR being glued to the bench. That San Antonio win may just have been the spark for the team to do a 180 and finally start winning.

  11. jbeagles23 - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    And yet you’re still four and a half games behind the raptors who have been playing better basketball

    • cruzan80 - Jan 10, 2014 at 9:35 PM

      And yet there still is over 50 games to be played….

  12. theromeo2k - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Whoa I guess a year really makes a difference!

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