Y’all should’ve listened to Chris Bosh over the summer. When he was asked what team he thought would be their toughest challenge in the East, he mentioned the Knicks as being very underrated. Now everyone else sees what he meant, as the Knicks without Carmelo Anthony completely destroyed the Heat in Miami for their second consecutive blowout. It was a beautiful night for Knicks fans and a wake-up call to the so-called observers out there that who comes out in the East is not a foregone conclusion. Onto my thoughts.
Live by the 3 and Murder the Heat With It: For the second game, the Knicks took over 40 three-pointers (44). NY hit 18 of them (41%). No, the Knicks weren’t just jacking them up most of the time. They were open shots from ball movement — the Knicks did a great job with spacing (Miami Coach Spoelstra even called Tyson Chandler’s lob threat “vertical spacing”), preventing the Heat from just staying home on any particular three-pointer shooter. And the Knicks had them in abundance — Steve Novak dropped 18 points (4-9 from downtown) and Raymond Felton was 6-10 from behind the arc.
Felton Is Fearless: What more can be said about Raymond Felton? It’s an amazing story considering where he was last year with Portland. The man was drawing ohhs and ahhs from how he was crossing over Miami guards and big men alike to get into the lane and sink jumpers. Felton’s stat line was 27 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and just 3 turnovers. He rose to the challenge of picking up Melo’s scoring hole but also kept the rest of the team involved. By the middle of the third quarter, Felton was walking with a definite swagger in his step.
The Heat Was Beat Into Submission: A Mike Miller buzzing-beating three to end the first gave Miami a 26-23 lead after one. From then on it was all Knicks. It got really ugly in the second half with the Knicks outscoring Miami 37-27 in the third and 22-12 in the fourth. The threes and the defense just flat-out killed Miami’s spirit. LeBron became discouraged and the rest of the team followed suit. A defining moment came in the fourth when Chandler cut to the basket and the Miami bigs didn’t even both trying to contest, just walked to the bench while Tyson slammed home another dunk.
American Airlines Arena Became MSG South: The Knicks fans got louder and louder as the game progressed. It was a beautiful sight to hear the arena completely taken over for by the fourth quarter.
Let’s Not Rest On Our Laurels: Yes, we’ve embarrassed the Heat twice. Yes, NY has the best record in the Eastern Conference. It’s just December, and we still have a lot of basketball left to the play. There will be bad games, but the effort need to be there every night. We don’t play Miami again until March, but beyond that we know there’s a good chance we’ll be matched up with them at some point in the playoffs. Let’s be ready to meet the challenge.
Tomorrow night we head to Chicago to face off against the defensive-minded Bulls. Hope NY stays on the mental high from this win.