Amar'e Stoudemire's the Missing Piece in New York Knicks Loss to Miami Heat
What was the missing piece for the Knicks in this game?
With the Knicks' star power forward set to make his return to action Wednesday against the New Jersey Nets, Sunday's game against the Heat was a perfect example of what this team is missing without Stat in the lineup.
Defensively, New York was damn near superb, and for the first time in 2012, they were able to hold the Heat to under 100 points. In fact, the Knicks were shooting so poorly for such long stretches throughout the game, it was their defense that kept them in it.
It wasn't until around halfway through the fourth quarter when the Knicks' offensive woes finally caught up with them.
Carmelo Anthony did his thing as usual and dropped 42 points on Miami, but other than J.R. Smith's 16 points off the bench, Melo didn't have anywhere near enough help.
To put it into perspective, in the Knicks' starting five, Melo (42) had more than double the amount of points than the rest of his fellow starters had combined (19). New York's bench could only muster up 24 points, and 16 of those were from Smith alone.
It's abundantly clear the Knicks need another consistent scoring option to help Anthony on days like this.
Stoudemire is that option and is good for 20 points a night, which is a total that would've more than put the Knicks over the top. Melo even cooled off at some points during the game, and that would be the perfect situation for Amar'e to go to work.
Doubters will say that Melo and Stat haven't proven they can play well together, but anyone who has watched the Knicks this season knows they were beginning to gel before Stat went down to injury.
The problem hasn't been spacing or sharing, but rather poor shooting on the part of Anthony. He suffered the same kind of shooting woes that Stoudemire did, except Anthony's lasted longer.
Now that Melo has his touch back, coach Mike Woodson can make Stat the focal point of the offense at certain stretches during the game, particularly when Anthony is no longer on fire for any length of time.
Stoudemire's presence alone would've been the difference in this game, and a loss like this has to give the Knicks hope that they can get a whole lot better beginning with the return of one of their best players.
All coach Woodson has to do is find the right complement with his two star players, and this team could take it to another level when combined with the spectacular defense New York is playing.
The battle between these two teams isn't over yet, and it appears we could have a playoff series right around the corner.
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