Knicks Open Season With Blowout Of Heat

Published on: 3rd November, 2012

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New York – Well, it’s so far, so good for the 2012 version of the New York Knickerbockers. With the backdrop of a fallen New York/New Jersey metropolitan area hit harder than it’s ever been hit by Hurricane Sandy, the Knicks, in what was supposed to be the second game of their season (after the weather-related cancellation of the season opener last night in Brooklyn), opened their home schedule against the defending NBA champion Miami Heat and frankly, it was no contest. The Knicks won by 20, 104-84 in a game that either portends well for their future as a championship contender or was a complete exception to how many experts expect them to perform this year.

The Heat (1-1) came into the Garden, having already won their first game at home last Wednesday against the Boston Celtics while receiving their championship rings in a nationally-televised pre-game ceremony. To the victors go the spoils, as they say. But, tonight, they played as if they shared the heavy hearts many in this area are feeling.

“We didn’t know how many people would be here,” said Heat star Dwyane Wade. “It was a tough one for us to try and get, but it was a challenge and we didn’t play well. It turned out great and the Knicks fed off that. It was an emotional kind of game for some people and for the city. The energy in the arena was amazing and you had the champs coming in as well. It was a great time to let the community, the fans and their families forget about things for a few hours and we were grateful as an organization to be a part of it.”

With so many homes destroyed in this area and lives disrupted, there had been a lot of chatter over the past two days that playing tonight’s game was not a good choice for the NBA to make. But, it appeared to be a welcome respite, not only for the fans who filled this arena but for the players, themselves.

Heat superstar, LeBron James has taken notice of the tragedy surrounding this area.

It’s always good to see how resilient people are in the wake of disaster,” said James. “It’s not always an easy thing to go through things like that. I think I speak on behalf of all of us (Miami Heat) when I say our hearts go out to those who are affected because it isn’t good. We’re good here but everybody isn’t good. I’ve been watching the news since I got here but you know I just want to let them know we’re thinking about them.”

The game, itself, was a thing of beauty for the Knicks, whose roster is dotted with players who are considered middle-aged for average human beings, let alone NBA-caliber, world-class athletes. But on this night, these old guys put it to the league’s best team. The key was a Mike Woodson staple of his coaching style – defense. It appears his players, even the ones whose reputations were built on scoring points, have bought in to Woodson’s defensive leanings.

“Our defense was most important,’ Anthony, who led the Knicks with 30 points,  said. “I thought we were solid from the beginning all the way through. And that’s how it’s got to be. If we plan on winning our division, host first round at home, we’ve got to win at home and we’ve got to play well at home and it starts with defense.”

This is a guy who likes firing up 25 shots per game from all over the court yet, his first comments of the 2012-13 season are about defense. Has Woodson finally gotten into Anthony’s head about what it takes to win a championship?

“Over the last couple of days, we didn’t even know if this game was going to be played. Then before the game we look up and they say they canceled the (New York City) Marathon, so it was like, we have to go out there and play,” Anthony said. “So today was something to give New York a couple hours of some peace. Come to the game, support us. We gave them a good show out there tonight, that’s the least that we can do.”

Tyson Chandler, who has become an NBA All-Star center and was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year last season, understands what it takes, having won a championship with the Dallas Mavericks just two years ago.

“I think we controlled the tempo of the game,’ he said. “We were able to get back in transition and hold them to half court sets. We were able to dictate where they took their shots from.”

Anthony hit two 3-pointers in a 10-0 run that gave New York a quick 11-point lead, and he followed six consecutive points by JR Smith by pulling up for a long 3-pointer and a 30-12 lead with 1:14 left in the first quarter. Anthony was even further away when he tossed in another 3 at the buzzer, capping his 16-point period and giving the Knicks a 33-17 advantage.

The Heat couldn’t get the deficit into single digits in the second, but were within 55-44 at halftime following 13 points from Wade after his scoreless first period. Anthony was 1 of 9 in the second after hitting six of 10 shots in the first.

But he had consecutive baskets in the Knicks’ run of seven straight points early in the third, and the lead grew to 75-52 on Novak’s 3-pointer with 3:12 remaining in the period. New York was ahead 81-63 heading into the fourth.

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