Basing theories on one good game by the New York Knicks against the Miami Heat in which Carmelo Anthony actually outplayed LeBron James in the final minutes wouldn’t be wise. Calling it like it is sounds a bit better, which is pretty much one usually bad team playing surprisingly well against the NBA champions, who got nothing from their role players.
Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points and did a lot better than usual with LeBron James guarding him, leading the New York Knicks to a 102-92 win over the Heat. James had a big night with 32 points on a very efficient 12-of-17 shooting night, but the Heat ran into a lot of trouble whenever he wasn’t on the floor. Maybe in these games, James needs to play the full 48 minutes.
Anthony was rusty to start the game, but ended up scoring 29 points on 12-of-24 from the field. He managed to blow by James a couple of times, adding 8 rebounds and 5 assists. This was a continuation of the good form, energy and motivation we’ve been seeing from the Knicks over the last two weeks, getting even more of a boost with J.R. Smith sitting the entire game on the bench.
Mike Woodson didn’t use any tricks or anything special. He cut the rotation to 8 players, and decided to go with the guys he trusts won’t falter close to the finish line. Amare Stoudemire scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 27 minutes. Iman Shumpert was one of the best players on the floor during his 43 minutes, scoring 12 points and 9 rebounds. Andrea Bargnani had his moments as well, scoring 19 points on 9-of-13 from the field, while Kenyon Martin continues to do a great job instead of Tyson Chandler.
We’re moving forward. We’re taking strides. We’re getting better. We’re learning from our mistakes we’ve made in the past and we’re going to continue to build on this and see what happens.You can tell it’s different than one month ago. Our faces are different, our body language is different.
For the Miami Heat, it was one of those games where they couldn’t afford not having James on the floor, or Chris Bosh. The Heat were losing by 17 points with Bosh off the floor (11 minutes), despite having a 6 points, 9 rebounds game. His presence under the basket and his status as the only big man who can do more than just one thing, like Chris Andersen, makes him indispensable, and makes the Heat think strong and hard about signing Andrew Bynum.
Dwyane Wade was initially supposed to sit out the game. He did score 23 points, but was an embarrassing 0-for-6 from the line. Wade and James combined to shoot an incredible 71.8% from the field. The problem was everyone else – 41.1% from the field. In a game without a lot of defense and two teams that found it quite easy to score, missing so much was unacceptable, while the Knicks were shooting 53.7% from the field and scoring 52 points in the paint.
Raymond Felton is back, and it seems that the energy is as well. The New York Knicks once again look like a team that should be in the playoffs, with Woodson understanding a bit better who he can and cannot take to the fight with him. No one is going to lose sleep over this loss in Miami, but it clearly shows just how fragile the NBA champions can be on nights when the supporting crew doesn’t show up.