The Miami Heat have put in some spotty efforts before in year’s past, but this loss to the New York Knicks may have just been the most lackadaisical of all.
Losing by ten points to an 11-22 team playing without its starting center, the Heat have hit a new low in terms of the effort they bring to the floor every night. Not even the usual five minute stretch of intense defense was present tonight during their 102-92 loss.
The Heat allowed the league’s 24th most efficient offense to shoot 54 percent from the field and score 52 points in the paint, as well as 9-of-24 shooting from beyond the arc after a 1-of-10 showing in the first half.
Miami was no better on offense. Although they shot 55 percent, they only managed 42 points against the league’s most porous defense, in terms of points in the paint per game allowed, shot 33 percent from three, and missed ten of their 21 free throw attempts.
With 9:48 left in the third, Iman Shumpert made his first of three-pointers in the quarter to cut their five-point halftime deficit to two. This shot would set the tone for the rest of the game as the Knicks became unconscious from outside of the paint.
After Shumpert made three three-pointers within two-and-a-half minutes of each other, Carmelo Anthony then converted a pair of three-pointers to give the Knicks a one-point lead. Miami would take the lead back, but the Knicks were in an offensive rhythm that the Heat were not going to disrupt this night.
New York went into the fourth quarter with a four-point lead, outscoring the Heat by nine in a quarter they scored 32 in. Five of the Knicks 13 field goals in the quarter came from beyond the arc.
A 13-2 run that spanned the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth proved devastating to the Heat. New York scored the first seven points of the final frame, while the Heat needed three minutes until they got their first points of the fourth.
The Heat were an absolute mess all night, but they were a dumpster fire without LeBron James. He and Chris Bosh were the only players on the Heat with a positive plus/minus, while Wade was a minus-14 in 39 minutes, despite having an otherwise efficient night from the field.
The Wade-led lineup that usually starts the second and fourth quarters was a disaster. Not only did it allow New York to build a double-digit lead in the fourth, but it also prevented the Heat from building on the six-point lead they went into the second quarter with.
Not only did they fail to build on it, they gave the lead back within the first three minutes of the quarter. LeBron James was forced to play 41 minutes as a result.
Stat of the game:
10 offensive rebounds for the Knicks.
It’s not a lot, but it’s more than what the 29th ranked offensive rebounding team in the NBA should be getting, especially when they’re playing without their starting center. Instead of taking advantage, the Heat allowed the corpse of Amar’e Stoudemire to grab three offensive boards by himself, one less than the entire Miami team.
The Knicks outrebounded the Heat by 11 and wound up taking 14 more shots than their opponent.
This was the most representative stat of the Heat’s effort tonight in comparison to New York’s. The Knicks played with a chip on their shoulder, as most teams that play Miami tend to do, and the Heat appeared to be looking forward to their star-studded showdown with…the Brooklyn Nets Friday night.
No, this was just a poor effort tonight. There’s no other excuse.
LeBron James: 32 points on 12-of-17 shooting, 1-of-4 from three, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 6 turnovers; B+
LeBron was his usual incredible self on the offensive end. There’s something about Madison Square Garden that brings out the best, and most entertaining, side of him. His baseline dunk on Andrea Bargnani was outstanding, but his tomahawk slam down the lane that sent the ball to half-court might have beat it out.
Still, LeBron turned the ball over too much, missed four free throws, and allowed Carmelo Anthony to finish with 29 points on 50 percent shooting after playing him well throughout the first half.
Dwyane Wade: 23 points on 11-of-15 shooting, 1-of-1 from three, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 turnovers; B-
Wade was really looking like the player of yesteryear what with the way he was draining circus shots and turnaround bankers. However, he’ll most likely be more remembered for his 0-for-6 shooting from the foul line, which could have helped the Heat down the line during their comeback run.
Three of the misses came in the fourth. The pair he missed with the Heat down by nine essentially sealed the game.
Chris Bosh: 6 points on 3-of-10 shooting, 0-of-1 from three, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers; C
It’s too bad Chris Bosh didn’t show up tonight, otherwise he would have found out Tyson Chandler was absent. Despite the Knicks marching out Kenyon Martin, Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire as their rim protectors, Bosh was largely invisible throughout the night and was off with his jumper.
Obviously, anything from Bosh would have been a significant help. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to stretch the floor as he usually does and the Heat suffered as a result, finding too many of their shots coming from the perimeter.
The Heat attempt to bounce back with a contest against the 14-21 Brooklyn Nets, winners of their past four. Miami does catch a break, however, as the Nets will likely be without Deron Williams.