Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Halftime: Heat 55, Knicks 44
By Jared Zwerling
Here are five quick hits at the half of the Knicks-Heat game:
1. Mike Bibby's hot first quarter. He hit two 3-pointers and even knocked down a baseline jumpshot off of a screen, looking like a true shooting guard. At the end of the first quarter, he had eight points, three rebounds and a tremendous back screen on LeBron James that resulted in a Carmelo Anthony two-hand dunk. He also ran the pick-and-roll well a few times, and his best pass (his only assist) found Landry Fields cutting to the basket in the middle of the lane for the dunk.
2. Anthony ran point-forward, as predicted. That enabled Bibby to get going as more of a two guard, just like in Game 4 (when he made two clutch 3-pointers at the end of the third quarter and fourth to keep the Knicks in it). With Melo running the show, he scored seven points in the first period on 3-for-6 shooting. What limited him, however, were his two fouls and he was subbed out with the Knicks up 20-19. That's when the Heat went on a run, and when Melo checked back in with 8:52 remaining in the second, the Heat were up 36-30. The Knicks couldn't generate enough offense with J.R. Smith on the court as the only scorer.
3. The Heat's defense on Amare Stoudemire. Since they know he has a bum left hand, they're playing up on him to take away his midrange jumpshot and force him to dribble. That's caused STAT to turn the ball over twice and miss a couple of layups at the rim. He simply doesn't have full control of the ball when making a move.
4. Toney Douglas' play. He stated the second quarter, replacing Bibby, which was his first action of the series. Douglas basically did what he needed to do: bring the ball up the court, not buckle down in the Heat's swarming pick-and-roll defense and give the ball to Anthony without turning it over. Douglas also had two points on a fastbreak layup and an assist on a Jared Jeffries' jumpshot.
5. The Knicks' defense on the Heat's Big 2. After James and Dwyane Wade didn't make one field goal in the first quarter -- James' was, however, 7-for-8 from the foul line -- Wade broke that streak with 10:08 left in the second quarter on a fastbreak layup. From that point on, the Knicks couldn't contain James in the paint and Wade just hit some spectacular midrange fallaway shots. In the first quarter, the Knicks double-teamed James and Wade nearly every time they touched the ball, but they lacked that defensive effort and energy to close the half.