By, Kenneth Teape – Knickswag Contributor
Post Game Recap
Final Score: Heat: 99 Knicks: 93
For a Sunday afternoon in March this game carried a lot of weight and revealed many things. For starters, the Heat are as good as advertised and Lebron James is the best basketball player in the world right now. Second, the Knicks are not the same team as they were earlier in the season when they beat the Heat twice by 20 points and that is not a good thing. The Knicks wilted down the end of the game as the Heat, led by James, hit their stride after halftime and over-powered the Knicks for the win. The loss tonight puts the Knicks percentage points behind the Indiana Pacers again for second place in the Eastern Conference and ends their three game win streak as the Heat extend theirs to 13.
Jason Kidd picked a great day to get his game back together as he helped the Knicks build their big lead in the first half by knocking down his four three point attempts of the game. Kidd attacked the paint at one point as well laying the ball in for two points en route to 14 points in the game, all in the first half. Kidd had a big impact on the glass as well, grabbing eight rebounds. The offense flowed with him in the game as well, as he handed out six assists as the backup point guard with Pablo Prigioni being held out again with back spasms. Kidd seems to be embracing his role as a bench player currently and making the most of it.
J.R. Smith struggled from the field, going five of 18 on the game and three of 14 from the three point line, but he did not let that effect the rest of his game. Smith grabbed a team high 12 rebounds, cleaning up the defensive glass like Mr. Clean. Smith brought intensity to the game tonight; the shots just were not falling for him. It will never be easy sledding against the Heat on offense, but if players help out in other areas like Smith did on the glass today they have a great chance of defeating the Heat.
First half Carmelo Anthony was outstanding. He came out of the gate on fire in the first quarter, scoring 17 of the Knicks 22 first quarter points. Anthony would score seven more points in the second quarter, ending the half with 24 points. Anthony was aggressive and made a living at the foul line, knocking down 11 of his 12 attempts. There was no one on the Heat that was able to keep Anthony out of the paint as his aggressiveness got him into the flow of the game and rhythm as he got to see the ball go through the hoop with all his free throw attempts.
Part of the Knicks not being able to put the Heat and allowing them back into the game was giving up easy baskets. The Knicks turned the ball over 18 total times, giving up 28 points off of those turnovers. Two that stick out the most were James steals, both off of Smith; the first resulted in a loose ball foul being called on Kidd the second virtually ended the game as James steal led to a thunderous dunk.
Anthony’s second half was anything but spectacular. He was visibly tired as Mike Woodson decided against giving Anthony any rest and had him play the whole second half. Anthony cooled off considerably, missing eight of the 11 shots he took in the second half, settling for more jumpers than in the first half. Anthony became less aggressive as he took only two free throws in the second half compared to 12 in the first. James did not allow Anthony to get back into a rhythm in the second half with stifling defense.
Woodson did not utilize his bench as well as he could have. He played Anthony the whole second half, deciding against using the newly signed Kenyon Martin or supposedly healthy enough to play Marcus Camby. Woodson has admitted to being stubborn with his rotations, but he has finally made a move with Kidd going to the second unit; it is time to continue building off of that and make more of the necessary tweaks to the rotation to get the most out of this squad.
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