Miami’s energy and game plan Knocks the Knicks off of their Lin-wagon…
In a nutshell, the 102-88 loss in South Beach on Thursday night, added new meaning to the term ‘Reality Bites’ as it showed why the Miami Heat continue to be the Beasts of the East. The Knicks were outplayed, outhustled, outcoached, and ill-prepared to go toe-to-toe with King James, DWade, Chris Bosh and company.
Perhaps if Jeremy Lin, Carmelo Anthony, and Amare Stoudemire had played together in every game since Christmas Day, the outcome might have been different. Not trying to make any excuses for being whipped by arguably one of the hottest teams (8 wins in a row), but this is a very cohesive unit that has played together all season. Jeremy Lin has started 11 games for the Knicks and has played only 6 games with Amare and just 3 with Melo! This will prove to be a more valid point if, when these two teams meet again on Sunday afternoon April 15th at Madison Square Garden, we see a completely different result.
As for Lin, the Heat did succeed in exposing his flaws, the biggest of which being his propensity towards turning the ball over; (he had 8 last night). They doubled Lin and continually forced him to his left which frustrated him into his worst shooting game 1-11- (9.1%), since he joined the Knicks. Not only was his shooting affected but his 3 assists were nowhere near his 9+ average since he became the starting Knick PG.
To Lin’s credit, he had this to say about the Heat’s aggressiveness throughout the evening: “I think their pressure and athleticism did the job over the course of the game. All the credit to them.”
Besides the relentless swarming defense whenever Lin had the ball, Miami’s fans surprised the 23 year old with loud boos during the player introductions; something the youngster certainly has not heard before last night. However it could be something that he might have to get used to as the season wears on and the publicity surrounding almost every move he makes is exaserbated and exaggerated throughout the media. Let’s face it, if you’re on the cover of Sports Illustrated two weeks in a row, then you’re bound to leave yourself open to cheers as well as jeers by fans everywhere.
Meantime, the All-Star break couldn’t have come at a better time for D’Antoni’s Knicks. He’s already planning on having four days of practices during the break, which will give hime an opportunity to figure out how he will intergrate the current active roster with those returning players such as Shumpert, Walker, and Harrellson.
Aside from the Rising Stars game, Lin will have a chance to catch his breath, Carmelo a few more days to shake off the rust from being sidelined with his groin injury, and Tyson Chandler will welcome the extra time off as he’s played in every game this season. They’ll all have a lot of improving to do if they hope to compete in the second half of the season…