Knicks Get Dose Of Reality In Blowout Loss To The Heat

Published on: 18th December, 2010

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LeBron and Wade
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New York – LeBron James said before tonight’s game against the Knicks that he felt confident it would be a good one for him and his Miami Heat. 

Amar’e Stoudemire said the same thing before the game. But, only one of these young, multi-millionaires was going to be right.

Score one for LeBron.  

James and his band of mercenary superstars taught the upstart Knicks a thing or two about winning basketball, blowing the home team out, 113-91 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score might indicate.

The Big Three of the Heat did exactly what has been expected of them since they banded together last July to try to tilt the balance of power in the National Basketball Association, when James and Chris Bosh took advantage of their free agent status to join up with Wade in South Beach.

Tonight, in front of another electric Madison Square Garden sellout crowd, James put up a triple double, scoring an easy 32 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 10 assists but he was hardly the whole show. The Big Three combined for 84 points, and were laughing on the bench at the end of the game as Wade and Bosh each scored 26 and pretty much did what they pleased in the second half, when they outscored the Knicks 56-34.

“You have to give them credit, first of all,” said Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. “Their defense in the second half was good. The first half was great but then we started the second half and we missed some foul shots and we missed some shots we thought we could make.”

The Knicks couldn’t seem to hit the side of a barn in the third quarter, shooting only 30% from the field (7 of 23). It was partially their own shooting foibles but in reality, it was the Heat defense that forced them into poor shots, particularly from the Knicks Big Two, Stoudemire and Raymond Felton.

The Knicks two best players were controlled tonight and in the third quarter alone, Felton shot 0 for 4 from the field, scoring just one point on a free throw. Stoudemire, after shooting just 5 of 13 in the first half, continued his wayward ways, hitting just 3 of 8 shots in the third. Stoudemire also missed all three of his foul shots in the quarter.

Meanwhile, at the same time, James took the game over. He scored 14 points in the quarter, singlehandedly taking the Knicks out of the game, for all intents and purposes. He thoroughly enjoyed his visit to Madison Square Garden, the arena he could have called home had he accepted James Dolan’s millions during James’ free agency tour of NBA teams last July.

“This is a great building,” James said. “Myself and D-Wade talk about it all the time. Certain buildings in this league that you just thrive on and you’re excited about, and this being the mecca of basketball as a kid you always envision not only playing in the NBA but also having a chance to play in Madison Square Garden.”

Yeah, LeBron and his buddy, D-Wade, had their fun at the Knicks expense and at the same time, may have been doing the Knicks and their fans a service with this thoroughly destructive beating.

It became a dose of reality for a New York team that had designs on being a high seed in the NBA playoffs this year. They still may win enough games to get into that top half of the Eastern Conference playoffs but it became glaringly obvious tonight what the Knicks are lacking and what they will need to compete against teams like the Heat and the Boston Celtics. Where will the Knicks Third Option on offense come from?

There was no shouting of Carmelo Anthony’s name from the crowd but his image must have surely been dancing in Knicks General Manager Donnie Walsh’s head like Christmas sugar plums after watching how Bosh, James, and Wade were able to put so much pressure on the Knicks defense that it eventually cracked under the weight of their the trio’s talent.

The Celtics can throw Hall of Famers Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Shaquille O’Neal at you along with All-Star point guard Rejean Rondo.

“We understand we’re not far away but we still have to improve and get better,” Stoudemire said. “I think playing these guys is a learning lesson for us. We’ve got to learn from these games and get better.”

The Knicks are hoping Stoudemire and Felton can get similar sidekick production from Danilo Gallinari or Wilson Chandler, both of whom have flourished in D’Antoni’s offensive system but, let’s face it, Walsh would sacrifice either Gallinari or Chandler or both in a heartbeat, if Denver agreed to trade Anthony to the Knicks. Then, the Knicks would have the firepower to compete with the elite of the NBA.

As it is now, tonight’s loss, coupled with the loss to the Celtics last Wednesday night, will at least temper all the mis-directed excitement around New York for their Knicks and get the players and fans back to a dose of reality.

NBA Notes: Stoudemire’s streak of nine consecutive 30-point games came to an end in a swarm of Miami Heat defense. Every time Stoudemire touched the ball, he was double and triple-teamed. Instead of looking for the open man, he opted to force it up. It led to his shooting a season-low 35% from the field, 8 of 25.  The Heat won their 12th in a row tonight, extending the franchise’s longest winning streak since winning 12 in a row from Feb. 26-March 19, 2005. The Heat beat the Knicks for the sixth straight time.

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