Friday, November 2, 2012
Halftime: Knicks 55, Heat 44
By Jared Zwerling
After Friday morning's shootaround, Dwyane Wade said he didn't think it was right for the game to go on. He, and the Heat, seemed to carry that mentality over to the action, not appearing too interested in competing. But that's also because the Knicks started the game playing exceptionally well, getting into lane, passing the ball, knocking down shot after shot and, of course, playing solid D.
Here are four key takeaways from the first half of Knicks-Heat:
1. Carmelo Anthony's aggressiveness. After giving the pregame speech, recoginzing the tragedy left behind by Hurricane Sandy, he was pumped up and ready to play, prepared to put the team on his back. His focus was in every jump shot and every strong move to the basket. In the first quarter alone, he finished with 16 points on 4-for-5 shooting from downtown. For the half, he had 20 points and seven rebounds.
2. Raymond Felton's playmaking. Anthony couldn't have done everything he did in the first quarter without the help from the Knicks' starting point guard. Felton came into training camp in great shape, and after playing well in the preseason, he carried that over to the early stages tonight. He finished with nine points and two assists in the first half. He zig-zagged right through the Heat's defense off pick-and-rolls, getting to the basket and finishing strong, or finding Melo in the baseline corner.
3. J.R. Smith's instant offense. In addition to Felton, Smith needs to be one of the team's main scoring threats with Amar'e Stoudemire out for six to eight weeks. Smith entered the game and was good for six points right away, including four assists. Overall, the Knicks did a great job of working off pick-and-rolls, and then rotating the ball to the open shooter. They finished 9-for-18 from beyond the arc. The Heat looked a step slow on many of the Knicks' halfcourt possessions.
4. Defense, defense, defense. The Knicks guarded the Heat's pick-and-rolls well and, more importantly, rotated with speed and efficiency. They just need to be a little bit more careful looking out for backdoor cuts. The Heat had several uncontested points in the paint when the Knicks were caught looking.