It was only a matter of time before the Miami Heat's recent lackadaisical play was going to translate into losses and the team suffered their second blowout loss to the New York Knicks, this time 112-92 Thursday night at the AmericanAirlines Arena. The first loss at home for the Heat won't be an easy one to swallow, since this was supposed to be a statement game for the Heat on so many levels.
What was hard to comprehend was the Heat's lack of energy and overall hustle after such an embarrassing loss two nights ago to the Washington Wizards, the worst team in the NBA. The Knicks lacked star forward Carmelo Anthony but more than made up for it with quality performances from their backcourt, especially Raymond Felton showing deft playmaking skills and red-hot shooting, going 6-10 beyond the arc for 27 points. Not to be outdone, Jason Kidd showed just how important a veteran point guard is to an elite team (ahem) and paired up with J.R. Smith and Steve Novak to give the Knicks an unbelievable shooting display that the Heat couldn't keep up with.
The Heat were rested while the Knicks had just come from an emotional win the night before in a last-second victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, and yet Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh never got going properly in the game and combined for an inefficient 6-25 from the field for 29 points, and only 9 rebounds and 2 assists together. Wade in particular had an extremely poor game and when two of the Big 3 have bad games, it's almost impossible for the Heat to overcome - especially when dealing with a team as deep and talented as the Knicks have shown.
But it wasn't just Wade and Bosh, there simply wasn't any standout performances for the Heat apart from LeBron's near-triple double of 31 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists - a few of which were directed at Udonis Haslem in the first half for easy points near the rim. Unfortunately, Haslem was phased out of the game once it was clear that the Knicks big men tandem of Tyson Chandler and Rasheed Wallace were going to have their way in the paint on both ends of the floor. Joel Anthony alone wasn't going to be able to plug up all the holes in the Heat's interior defense and the Knicks, especially Felton, reaped all the benefits.
In mounting a failed fourth quarter comeback, precisely the kind that the Heat has proven they can pull off time and time again this NBA season, the team managed only a dozen points in the fourth quarter with Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Battier or Mario Chalmers unable to provide any badly needed outside shooting.
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