Sunday, April 15, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Heat 93, Knicks 85
By Ian Begley
WHAT IT MEANS: If Sunday's game was a preview of a Knicks-Heat first-round series, New York is going to need someone other than Carmelo Anthony to score if they want to make things competitive.
Anthony had 42 points for the Knicks, but it wasn't nearly enough as Dwyane Wade and LeBron James combined for 57 points in Miami's 93-85 win.
With the loss, the Knicks dropped into eighth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game back of Philadelphia. They were alone in seventh entering play Sunday. With Miami in second, many viewed this matchup as a potential playoff preview.
Now, it's less clear where the Knicks will end up. They are four games behind Atlantic Division-leading Boston with six to play and are two games ahead of ninth-place Milwaukee. Boston plays Charlotte on Sunday evening.
THE BAD: The Knicks' defense waned in crunch time. Miami went on an 18-6 run in the final eight minutes, after New York pulled ahead 79-75 on a J.R. Smith 3-pointer.
Wade had eight points in the fourth. Anthony went cold in the fourth, hitting 2 of 7 attempts.
SECOND OPTION ON OFFENSE: Once again, the Knicks lacked a second option on offense. Anthony went off for 42, the highest total against the Heat this season. But he went cold in the fourth quarter and couldn't convert from beyond the arc (2-for-7 in the game). No one really stepped up to support Anthony or provide a consistent threat. Smith had 16 points but shot 6-for-15. No other Knick scored in double figures. The closest was Tyson Chandler, who had nine points.
OFFENSE STAGNANT IN THIRD: The Knicks went 5:20 without a field goal in the third quarter. Miami's lead went from one point to seven during the cold stretch. That included a Steve Novak 3 wiped off the board by Iman Shumpert's ill-advised takedown of James Jones.
Novak knocked down a 3 to tie it at 71 early in the fourth. Shumpert had back-to-back steals, the second of which ended in a layup that gave the Knicks the lead. But they couldn't get enough stops to seal it.
CHANDLER NICKED UP? Chandler appeared to bang his left knee against Joel Anthony in the third. But he returned to the game in the fourth quarter. Check back later for more on the injury. Chandler has played through a wrist injury for most of the season. He's also dealt with groin and hamstring injuries.
In addition to Chandler, Jared Jeffries was a bit banged up. He had three stitches on his chin after a collision with James in the second quarter.
THE GOOD: Anthony had 42 points, the highest individual point total against Miami this season. The second-best was Derrick Rose's 34. Guess this bodes well if New York faces Miami in the playoffs.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks host the Celtics on Tuesday night as they continue to try to lock down a playoff spot. They also have eyes on the Atlantic Division title. The Celtics are four games up on New York, so Tuesday's game is almost a must-win if the Knicks want to win the division. The Knicks play the following night at the Nets and have road games against Cleveland and Atlanta on Friday and Sunday.