10 Reasons the New York Knicks Have No Chance Against the Miami Heat
Okay, it's not often that a team can really be declared "finished" only two games into a best-of-seven series.
After all, this is professional sports. This is where the Red Sox came back against the Yankees down 3-0 and facing Mariano Rivera in Game 4. This is where the Flyers came back against the Bruins down 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2010. This is where the Cardinals won Game 6 against the Rangers after being just one strike away from the end of the season.
It's not happening, Knicks fans. The Knicks didn't have a great chance entering this series against Miami. After getting embarrassed in Game 1 and then losing a tough Game 2, things are definitely not looking up.
Time to start thinking about the salary cap, free agency and the draft, because this season is on life support and last rights are being read.
The Big Three Are Too Much
It doesn't matter if you like Miami or not. They don't care, and why should they? They're certainly not playing basketball to impress the residents and basketball fans of New York City. Don't like them? No problem. Don't respect them? They don't care.
The three of them combined are pretty tough. LeBron will and probably should win league MVP. Dwyane Wade has postseason experience and has come up big—actually very big—before. He didn't do it last season. That doesn't mean it won't happen this season, though.
Bosh might not rebound that well for guy his size, but LeBron is an exceptional rebounder for a small forward. Wade and James are also top-tier defenders. I'm not a Miami Heat fan, but I'm not delusional enough to think that they're not lethal.
Amar'e Hasn't Learned How to Channel His Emotions
This has already been mentioned a million times, but let's face it. Amar'e Stoudemire has no excuse for his tantrum following the loss in Game 2.
I don't care if he's mad about losing, only taking nine shots to Carmelo's 26 or even the linens at the hotel. None of that matters. What does matter is that he's removed himself for Game 3, and maybe beyond that.
Here's a decent question. How did Amar'e play 41 minutes on Monday and grab only seven rebounds? Forget the nine points. Seven boards? From a 6'10" forward playing a team that really isn't known for its rebounding prowess, that's a weak showing.
Regardless, no one has to worry about Amar'e's production in Game 3 because there won't be an Amar'e in Game 3. He'll have really good seats, and he'll probably wear a really nice suit. He won't play, though.
That's because Amar'e chose to take all his passion, anger and emotions regarding this critical series for his New York Knicks, and rather than channel it into grabbing more than seven rebounds, he punched the glass casing of a fire extinguisher. After bleeding and getting stitches, he'll be watching basketball rather than playing it for at least Game 3.
That might not be a big deal because his teammates will be joining him as spectators very soon.
Where Have You Gone, Jeremy Lin?
Of all the excuses the New York Knicks have for their eventual loss to the Miami Heat the "Jeremy Lin was hurt" one is the most legitimate.
It doesn't get anyone in the clear for that total egg the team laid this past Saturday, but close games and close losses could absolutely have different results with an upgrade at point guard. That's what Jeremy Lin would be, for the Knicks, an upgrade.
Baron Davis was a very good basketball player, but age and injuries have simply taken away too much of his athleticism to compete night in, night out at the highest level.
No faulting the guys' heart or how hard he plays when he's on the floor. He's just not up to hanging on the court with a team like the Heat.
To be fair, Lin's worst game probably came against the Heat right before the All-Star break when Wade and company harassed him into a miserable performance. Lin would still fare better against Miami's defense. Would he change the outcome of the whole series? Probably not, but he'd still make the Knicks more competitive.
The Secret Weapon Isn't a Secret Anymore
Remember earlier in the season when Steve Novak would come off the bench and be left wide open and just start draining three-pointers? Sure you do—it wasn't that long ago.
The problem, of course, is that he kept doing it. Draining three-pointers that is. Novak ended up leading the entire league in three-point field-goal percentage this season.
That means that when he comes off the bench against Miami, he's not getting left open. Not intentionally and not for more than a possession or two in a row.
So far in this series Novak has made three of five of his three-point attempts. The three makes are great, but the five attempts over two games equal what Novak averaged in attempts per game during the regular season.
It's hard to make as many three-point shots when you don't take as many. Give Novak credit for not forcing bad shots up, and give Miami credit for limiting another key weapon on offense for New York.
Tyson Chandler Is Not a Scorer
Tyson Chandler is great. He's an elite defensive player, a very good locker-room presence and looks like he's going to be a very good long term addition for the Knicks.
He also averaged 11.3 points per game this season. His career average is only 8.6 points per game.
Now, to his credit, he's very efficient. Chandler shot an absurd 67.9 percent from the field this season. In case you were wondering, yes, he led the NBA in that stat and no, it wasn't even close beating second-place finisher Dwight Howard (57.3 percent).
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. It's just that the Knicks need more against the Heat. They don't have a great point guard to create offense, Carmelo can't do it on his own and the Heat are going to take away Novak's open looks.
That means Chandler will need to step up on offense. Carmelo really could use a hand in scoring out there, and he's clearly not going to get it from Amar'e.
Defending Miami Is Like Playing "Whack-a-Mole"
Are you familiar with this game? It's an arcade game where you try to literally "whack" fake moles that pop out of holes. You knock one down, but another just pops up. Sort of like defending the "Big Three." You shut down one, and another just pops up.
This isn't a problem unique to the Knicks. Go ahead, tell your defense to "stop LeBron." First of all, they won't—they can negate some of his scoring, but he's going to get points. He's that good. Dwyane Wade presents the same problem.
It's a "pick your poison" type of situation. It's exactly the type of situation the New York Knicks upper management probably envisioned when they paired Carmelo Anthony with Amar'e Stoudemire.
The problem is that as much grief as Miami has endured for the pairing of LeBron and Wade, it's been a far smoother marriage than the one in New York City that was arranged between "Melo" and "Stat."
Oh, and on the off chance that a team can find a way to consistently deny both Wade and James scoring opportunities, then Chris Bosh does in fact have the ability to knock down shots.
Only one NBA team was top 10 in both total points scored per game and lowest total points allowed per game this season: the Miami Heat.
The Knicks' Supporting Cast Isn't Much Better Than Miami's
The Miami Heat have been ridiculed for being the Big Three and an awful supporting cast. There's some merit to that claim. The Heat's supporting cast isn't awful, but it's not a strength.
Then again, the Knicks have some interesting choices as far as members of their own rotations go.
Landry Fields, Toney Douglas, Jared Jeffries, Mike Bibby and Josh Harrellson. Sure, that list might be a first-class upgrade for the Charlotte Bobcats, but Erik Spoelstra isn't calling assistant coach Ron Rothstein at all hours of the night and saying, "Okay, now let's go over this defense to shut down the lethal Douglas/Fields combo."
I'm sure someone will try and convince me that the loss of Bill Walker is having a major impact on this series. That's fine except that no one forced New York to cut him in favor of Dan Gadzuric, and it's still only Bill Walker. New York's supporting cast is decent, but it's not outstanding, and it's not going to help enough to get the Knicks through this series.
Carmelo Can't Do It Alone
Hard to believe, but it's not going to be so easy to pin this eventual loss to Miami on Carmelo Anthony. The guy has had to carry the Knicks down the stretch in the regular season (and he did).
Now he's basically on his own facing off against the Heat. The Knicks with Amar'e Stoudemire had two players who theoretically can create their own offense on any given possession.
Even with that being the case, the bulk of the scoring load in this regular season was carried by Anthony. Now that Stoudemire is out of action, the scoring load will be picked up by...
Well, that's sort of the problem. J.R. Smith is the guy most likely to get an uptick in shots with Amar'e on the bench. Smith is likely to get the shots—making them is a different story.
Mike Woodson Isn't Any Better Than Erik Spoelstra
Give Mike Woodson credit. He took over a Knicks team that was in total chaos and then proceeded to lead them to an 18-6 finish. That's an impressive job by any standard.
Give Erik Spoelstra credit, too. It's easy to say that he's got it easy with all those superstars at his disposal. I'm sure he's not eager to switch teams, but it's not as easy as it looks to run teams that are loaded.
Doug Collins had two guys named Jordan and Pippen for two unsuccessful seasons in the late 1980s.
Paul Westhead had Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar and won the 1980 NBA championship and still got fired as Lakers head coach.
Hey, Spoelstra hasn't won anything yet. For a Heat team on a sort of "win it all or bust" mission, Spoelstra probably can't survive too many more seasons without a ring, but under tough circumstances, he's done a good job.
The Iman Shumpert Injury
The New York Knicks broke tradition and had a good 2011 NBA draft. That's because with the 17th pick they nabbed Iman Shumpert out of Georgia Tech, and Shumpert repaid them by quickly developing into a very good defensive basketball player.
His offense and in particular his decision making on offense are still suspect, but his defense is not. His defense is top-notch and he's going to get better before he gets worse. He's not even 22 years old yet.
Unfortunately for Knicks fans, that defensive prowess won't be on display again until sometime next season. Shumpert tore his ACL in Game 1 and was lost for the remainder of the season. His loss instantly upped the overall degree of difficulty for the Knicks in this series.
The rest of the Knicks backcourt isn't just not as good defensively—they're not good on defense, period.
Shumpert was a guy who could be counted on to play real tough D, hit a few shots and even make a few spectacular plays. Now he's just another tall guy wearing a nice suit with great seats. He can sit next to Lin and Stoudemire.