Post Game Recap
The Knicks were unable to end their home stand on a high note and continue their strong play against the
Saturday night as the Heat handled them rather easily, winning 106-91. After an
embarrassing loss at three weeks ago the Heat
were able to exact some revenge tonight. The Knicks played sloppy, unnerved
basketball tonight as the Heat came ready to play. Some of the younger players
looked overwhelmed against the two-time defending champion Heat and the
veterans were unable to right the ship outside of a few short lived runs. Inconsistent
play on both ends of the court eventually doomed the Knicks. On a night that
biggest and brightest stars were at the Garden for Super Bowl weekend, the
Knicks fell flat and their winning streak ended at four games. They will get
back on the court Monday night in Madison Square
against the Bucks.
Player of the Game: J.R. Smith
|Howard Simmons/New York Daily News|
Smith was tasked with the biggest challenge of the night; slowing down the human freight train LeBron James. Smith tried admirably throughout the game to slow James down but was barely a speed jump for King James, who is two inches taller and listed at least 30 pounds heavier. With Iman Shumpert sidelined Smith drew the toughest defensive assignment. Even thought James was taking it to Smith on the defensive end, Smith was able to hold his own offensively. Smith shot the ball efficiently, going 6-11 from the field (4-7 3pt, 4-8 FT) for 20 points. He added two rebounds and one steal as well, as he played James as well as he possibly could and still delivered offensively even with all of the effort he was putting forth on the defensive end.
When given the chance, the Knicks did shoot the ball relatively well tonight. As a team they shot 33-67 from the field (49.3 percent) and a strong 11-26 (42.3 percent) from the three point line. That makes it six games in a row that the Knicks have made at least 11 three pointers in, going 4-2 over that span. When the Knicks knock down three pointers they usually win; just tonight they were unable to get everything on the same page.
Kenyon Martin was able to get back on the court tonight and once again the Knicks were at their best while he was playing. Martin was the only Knicks player to get double-digit minutes to finish with a positive +/- ratio. Martin was able to control the paint while he was in the game and brought the confidence and intensity to the defensive end to get the Knicks back into the game. Martin’s stats won’t blow you away, as he scored four points, grabbed two rebounds, and had one assist and two blocks, but the Knicks always seem to play better when Martin is in the fold.
Tim Hardaway Jr. once again put on a show offensively with Shumpert sidelined. Hardaway Jr. made the most of the extended minutes once again, pouring in 17 points on 7-14 from the field (3-7 3pt). Hardaway Jr. once again did not produce much more in the stat sheet, grabbing only one rebound, handing out one assist and getting one steal. Hardaway Jr. can score with the best of them and once he improves other areas of the game he will continue garnering more playing time.
On the brightest of stages playing at MSG James has dominated and he did the same Saturday night. James put on a show for the Garden faithful, scoring 30 points, pulling down eight rebounds, hanging out seven assists and getting six steals. James did whatever he wanted to the Knicks tonight, much like he has done throughout his career as he teases Knicks fans every time he visits about what could have been. James continued his dominance over the Knicks in his career as he has the third highest scoring average of any player against the Knicks behind only Michael Jordan.
|Howard Simmons/New York Daily News|
Dwyane Wade has struggled with injuries throughout the season and many people think that his career is close to ending. Tonight he may have changed some people’s minds. Wade looked every bit like the Wade of old tonight, scoring 22 points on 10-15 shooting from the field. He also grabbed four rebounds, had four assists and two steals on the night to round out his stat line. It may be a coincidence but the best games that Wade has put together this season have come against the Knicks and Pacers, two of the more high profile match ups Wade and the Heat will have throughout the season.
The Knicks defense gave more than Santa Clause on Christmas tonight as they did nothing to slow the Heat down. The Heat got whatever shot they wanted and plenty of open shots around the perimeter. On the night the Heat shot 53.9 percent (41-76) and destroyed the Knicks in the paint. On the night the Heat scored 48 points in the paint, continuously getting easy baskets to keep the Knicks at bay. In the second half they outscored the Knicks 24-8 and started the half with a 14-2 edge in the paint. The Heat got easy baskets while the Knicks fell in love with jump shots with nothing coming easy.