When Juwan Howard is on the court for The Heat, you know that the game might as well be over. This game was a wake up call to New Yorkers everywhere who were tricked by the wonderful play of The Knicks in April. When facing true playoff competition it is clear this team is far from a championship contender.
After the first quarter, no one wearing a Knicks’ uniform showed up to play and it showed as the Knicks dropped Game 1 to the Miami Heat 100-67.
Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire proved to everyone that they still can’t play together productively. ‘Melo was one-for-nine at one point early in the game, and finished with only 11 points.
He never got the ball where he likes it (in the post), and instead had to come all the way out to the perimeter only to badly miss most of his attempts. Anthony finished the game with an awful +/- stat of -35.
STAT did not do much better, but his biggest problem was that he grabbed only 5 rebounds, which is absolutely unacceptable for a 6-10 power forward.
The New York bench is supposed to be the X-factor in this series. Steve Novak was the only player who actually fulfilled his role by making both of his 3-pointers. Although J.R. Smith scored 17 points, he hurt the Knicks more than he helped them due to his four turnovers, and inability to take less than 50 dribbles per possession.
Jared Jefferies’ health seems like it will prove to be an issue in this series, as he only played 8 minutes while he was supposed to be available for 15. If Jeffries can’ provide serious defensive help, Mike Woodson may have to take a look at rookie Josh Harrellson who played well in garbage time.
The news only got worse for the Knicks when Iman Shumpert collapsed on his knee without any contact. He had to be carried off the court by his teammates, and was reportedly taken from the arena to a local hospital for an MRI. Shumpert is the teams best wing defender, and his matchup with Wade is key if the Knicks have any chance of containing him. It is unclear as of now if he will be returning for Game 2. Look to see Landry Fields return to his starting position at shooting guard if that is the case.
Tyson Chandler had been battling the flu before today’s game, but might as well have sat out. He barely showed up on the boards, and did not score a point, as the leader in field goal percentage (.679), finished 0-of-3 from the floor.
Finally, you have to give credit where credit is due. Lebron James, one of the NBA’s finest actors, should be recieving his academy award nomination in the mail shortly because he sure can flop. Twice he got fouls called on him by pretending there was much more contact then there was in reality. Tyson Chandler got called for a Flagrant I after King James ran around the court whining about his neck hurting.
All kidding aside, Lebron played great tonight, and if he can keep this up may shed his reputation of failing to show up when it counts. He finished with 32 points and four steals.
The Knicks need to show up with better offensive execution in Game 2 if they want to have a chance to bring this series to seven.
The pressure lies with Anthony. Let’s see if he shows up.