Thursday, December 6, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Knicks 112, Heat 92
By Jared Zwerling
WHAT IT MEANS: Wow.
The Knicks gave Miami its first home loss of the season, dropping it to 8-1 at home, thanks to their 18 3-pointers (40.9 percent). And amazingly, they blew out the second-best team in the Eastern Conference, and the defending champ for that matter, without Carmelo Anthony (left middle finger laceration). Yes, you heard that right.
When the Knicks beat Miami in their season opener back on Nov. 2 at the Garden, 104-84 (another 20-point win), they also did it from beyond the arc. In that game, the Knicks shot 19-for-36 (52.8 percent). Clearly, the Knicks are for real, and the Heat's drop-off in defense this season (99.9 points per game allowed entering Thursday night) is an alarming sign.
KNICKS' GAME BALL GOES TO ...Raymond Felton. Without Anthony, he knew that more would fall on him and Tyson Chandler in the pick-and-roll, and the point guard shifted into high gear. He went hard off every screen and attacked the paint without hesitation. He also took a page out of Melo's game and scored in isolation, including breaking Udonis Haslem’s ankles on a ridiculous crossover move in the first quarter. Felton had plenty of shake-and-bake moves in the game, en route to a team-high 27 points and seven assists.
THE HOT HAND: In about the first nine minutes of the third quarter, the Knicks picked up the pace, passed the ball well and shot 8-for-12 from 3-point range. Felton (three 3s), J.R. Smith (two), Jason Kidd (one), Steve Novak (one) and James White (one) all contributed to the downtown destruction. The eight long balls were the most the Knicks have made in a quarter this season. While the Heat went on a 13-5 run to end the third quarter, the Knicks' outside shooting was just too much.
NOTHING INSIDE: In about the first six minutes of the third quarter, while the Knicks sizzled, their defense limited the Heat's offense to only one field goal (a 3-pointer by LeBron James). The Knicks' perimeter rotations, the DNA of their defense, quickly adjusted to passes and cut off open lanes, forcing the Heat to shoot from the outside. And it was clank after clank. When you consider how well the Knicks have covered the court this season, you have to give some credit to Mike Woodson's offseason conditioning program he put in place after last season.
BENCH MOB: The Heat scored only 19 points off the bench. But the Knicks? Try 57 points. While their 3-point shooting was on fire, Rasheed Wallace's post presence came up big. The Knicks needed one without Anthony, and Sheed stepped up, scoring four points on the block and three at the charity stripe in only eight minutes off the bench in the first half.
EFFICIENT: The Knicks matched their season best for fewest turnovers in a game (seven).
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks travel to Chicago -- sans Derrick Rose -- on Saturday to face the Central Division-leading Bulls (9-8) at 8 p.m. ET.