In a much-anticipated matchup featuring the New York Knicks hosting the Miami Heat, the game was anything but exciting as the Knicks blew out the Heat in their season-opening game.
The Knicks opened up a 16-point first-quarter lead, and every time the Heat started to close the gap, they just pulled even farther away. Eventually, they beat the Heat handily, 104-84.
Carmelo Anthony was the main deliverer of damage, as he scored 30 points, but took 28 shots to get there. Nevertheless, the Knicks seemed to go as Anthony went. When he was being aggressive and taking shots, the Knicks were scoring.
He scored 16 points in the first quarter and assisted on a three pointer, involving himself one way or another in 19 of his team's points in the first quarter alone.
After the Knicks extended their lead to 23, the Heat put together an eight-point run late in the third quarter, but Steve Novak ended it with a pair of three-point shots to put the Knicks up by 18. That's when the proverbial fat lady started humming.
The Knicks outscored the Heat, 23-21, in the fourth quarter and the game was never really in doubt.
Mario Chalmers, PG, MIA: F
Mario Chalmers had a great game on opening night, coming just one assist shy of a career-high 11 assists, but against the Knicks, he was nonexistent.
Chalmers didn't score through the first three quarters and only had one assist. His biggest stat of the night was two turnovers. Sometimes stats don't tell the whole story. This time they do.
If you blobbed out Chalmers on your screen all night, you wouldn't see the blob on your screen.
His biggest moment in the game was fouling Jason Kidd from well behind the arc with the shot clock winding down to put him on the line. That play pretty much was the nail in the coffin for the Heat.
Raymond Felton, PG, NYK: B
Raymond Felton was looking considerably more fit to open up this season than he did last year.
On the bright side, when the Knicks came out gangbusters, Felton was quietly a big part of the reason why. Felton scored or assisted on 10 of the Knicks' first 19 points and did that damage in the first nine minutes of the game.
Dwyane Wade, SG, MIA: D+
When it comes to superstar players, they get graded on a different scale. If Wade were an average player, he would have gotten a better grade, but when you're one of the top-five-to-10 players in the league, you don't get graded on an ordinary player scale.
Wade ended the game with just 15 points, five boards and four assists.
He was better than ordinary, but nothing too special Friday night, disappearing for large stretches of the game.
He did not score at all in the first quarter when the Knicks were putting the Heat away early. It doesn't matter who is Batman or Robin if the Penguin's trap works and they don't make it out in time.
Jason Kidd, SG, NYK: B+
Jason Kidd was so effective that he was making shots for both teams. Actually, he accidentally tipped in a shot for the Heat going for a steal. Chris Bosh got the credit.
Kidd still got credit for 12 points of his own, which he did score for New York. He also chipped in four rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.
With 5:57 remaining in the fourth, he also drew a foul on Chalmers on a three-point shot with the clock winding down. That pretty much sealed the game.
Shane Battier, SF, MIA: C-
This seemed like an area where the Heat should have had an advantage, but Shane Battier was outplayed by his counterpart on the court. Now granted, his counterpart didn't score a whole lot, but then again, his counterpart was Ronnie Brewer, who's hardly an offensive specialist.
Beyond that, he was responsible for guarding Steve Novak most of the time Novak was on the court, and Novak was slaying the Heat. In all, Novak and Brewer combined for 24 points, and the bulk of those were scored with Battier on the court.
Ronnie Brewer, SF, NYK: B
Ronnie Brewer made a three-point shot, which is almost miraculous all by itself, but he's not in there for his scoring; he's there for defense and defense is what you expect him to provide.
He was his usual high-energy self, providing help defense all over the court. During his Chicago years, he was something of a Wade-stopper, and his help defense was a large part of the reason for Wade's fairly ordinary night.
His seven points, five boards and three assists were nice, but this is a case where stats don't tell the whole story. His defense was outstanding.
LeBron James, PF, MIA: D+
LeBron James wasn't bad, but he wasn't great, either. His numbers were decent, with 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists, but what the team needed, he never provided. It seemed like the team kept waiting for James to pick it up by the scruff of the neck and carry it back into the competition, but it never came.
James seemed too relaxed, too accepting of the blowout. There was just a lack of aggressiveness from him that should have been there. There were some nice plays, including a 360 as he drove through the lane that was truly special, but the overall performance was just too lackadaisical.
Carmelo Anthony, NYK, A-
Carmelo Anthony's performance is hard to grade. He was hot and cold. He went on a stretch of missing 11-of-12 shots. On the other hand, his scoring was what put the Knicks ahead early and kept them there.
On the night, Anthony scored 30 points on 28 attempts. He added 10 boards and two assists.
He is the team MVP, but he gets knocked down just a smidgen to an "A-" because of the cold streak.
Chris Bosh, C, MIA: C-
Chris Bosh had a good rebounding game, snatching 11 off the glass, but he only scored 12 points on 13 attempts.
He was the only Heat player that was really putting up a fight in the first quarter, as half his points came in the opening frame, but in the second half, he was nonexistent, scoring only once and grabbing just four boards while turning the ball over twice.
Bosh gets credit for at least coming out fighting, but gets docked for disappearing in the second half.
Tyson Chandler, C, NYK: A
One thing impossible to measure that Tyson Chandler brings every night is the way in which he amps up the defensive intensity of the team, and the defense was a huge reason why the Knicks were able to come out so strong.
The Heat were held to just 84 points on the night and had a mere 36 points in the paint. Chandler gets a huge amount of credit for that.
His 10 points and eight rebounds were nice, but the "A" is for defense.
Ray Allen, SG, MIA: D
Ray Allen had a remarkable opening-night performance, and in a sense, this was remarkable, too. At least in the sense that it's worthy of remarks. But the remarks this time aren't so friendly. Allen seemed to just disappear. He was a non-factor until the game was decided.
He ended the game with five points, but they all came in the last 15 minutes with a double-digit deficit. They were pure garbage-time points. He did have three assists, including two to Rashard Lewis, who led the Heat in scoring off the bench.
Steve Novak, F, NYK: B+
Watching the Knicks set up Novak was a thing of beauty. The passing was working so well.
Novak sank five of his eight three-point attempts and led the Knicks, who made 19 from deep overall, in that department.
The two most important Novak threes came when the Heat were trying to put together their comeback and had trimmed the lead down to 12.
Miami Bench: B-
The Miami Heat had one bright spot and that was Rashard Lewis, who scored 16 points off the bench and only needed nine field-goal attempts to get them. Lewis was also the leading rebounder off the bench, grabbing six boards.
Overall, the bench was only outscored 32-29, and this loss was on the starters—a rare occurrence with the Miami Heat, but in this game, it was true.
New York Bench: C-
Apart from the sharp-shooting of Steve Novak, the Knicks' bench struggled. J.R. Smith chipped in 11 points, although he took 11 shots to do so.
Rasheed Wallace, fresh out of retirement, scored three points in meaningless minutes late in the game.
Other than that, the Knicks didn't get any scoring from their bench.
Kurt Thomas did provide some energy and defense and grabbed three rebounds.
Overall, they played slightly below average, but they didn't need to be great because of the starters controlling the game.