Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, other times you sing the blues. But if you’re the Knicks, and its the playoffs, its safe to assume that you’re going to lose, and that it may be that way for a long time.
It boiled down to a well-rested Lebron James in the fourth quarter taking over, while a worn out Carmelo Anthony had no chance to reciprocate. Lebron hadn’t played very well until then, and the same could be said for ‘Melo. But LJ came in to score 8 points right off the bench to put the Heat up 10.
Carmelo, on the other hand, went ice cold until the very end of the fourth when the game no longer mattered. He played 43 minutes, and the Heat’s defense was smoldering. He could not get any easy shots, and ended up going 7-of-23 from the field.
The Knicks played very well in the first half, even holding an 11 point lead at one point. They were playing tenacious defense, and getting good play from their bench. J.R. Smith finished with 12 points in the game, while Steve Novak continued to be unable to get shots off. Speaking of Novak, he started the game in place of Stoudemire (lacerated hand), but took only 2 shots and did not make either of them. I don’t expect him to start on Sunday.
One player on the bench who I was impressed with in the second quarter was Josh Harrellson. He grabbed 3 rebounds, and scored 2 points in the 5 minutes he played. Coach Mike Woodson decided not to go back to him, which I don’t completely understand, but that is certainly not the reason we lost.
The Knick defense contained Wade and James in the first half, and that is what made this game look different from the first two. In the second half, Wade went on to hit two threes, while Lebron in the fourth erupted sealing the game for his team.
Turnovers were once again a huge issue for this team, and it has been so all season. The thing is that The Heat excel in the fast break off turnovers, and we were handing them great opportunities (18 turnovers to be exact).
The Knicks officially have no chance of upsetting the Heat, but they could win Sunday’s game. Although it may look like this game was similar to Game 1 by the final score (87-70), in reality this was a much closer game where the defense shut down the Heat’s bench, and contained the superstars. If they can continue this play, and find a way to help Carmelo get easier shots, then we can still game 4.
STAT is unlikely to play (maybe for the better), and Jeremy Lin has basically said he will not be playing either. With the bench and Tyson Chandler (10 points, 15 rebounds) back on track, it will be up to ‘Melo. That’s the same guy by the way who has the lowest career postseason winning possession out of the players who have been there the same amount of times since 1991.
Mike Woodson answered the calls to make defensive adjustments, and contained the Heat to only 87 points. That’s his expertise, but let’s see if he can make the changes to help the Knicks shoot better than an awful 32 percent.
You and I know that it is no longer April, but maybe Carmelo can forget that on Sunday, and play the way he did to beat the Bulls in overtime with a clutch 3-pointer. At this point, it seems like that may be our only hope.