In case there was any doubt about the backbone and focus of the 2012-2013 Knicks, they were put to rest on Thursday night in South Beach when a Carmelo-less New York team completely outplayed and dominated the world-champion Miami Heat.
It was a repeat of the NBA opening season game when these same Knicks, albeit WITH Carmelo Anthony on the floor, blew out the Heat at Madison Square Garden by the same 20 points that did Miami in last night. And this was made even harder as it was the second game in a back-back following a toughly contested one the night before won by the Knicks thanks to J.R. Smith’s buzzer beater with time expiring.
They seemed to have a swagger about them during this game that was reminiscent of the team which had Allan Houston and Patrick Ewing back in the 90’s, a time when we were treated to many a competitve contest between the two teams.
These Knicks have been playing with reckless abandon this season opening up a 1 1/2 game lead over LeBron James and the rival Miami Heat and boasting a 14-4 record after winning their last five in a row. They currently are the only NBA team unbeaten (8-0) at home.
With the Bulls on tap for tomorrow in Chicago and the Nuggets at home at the Garden on Sunday, it will have completed a stretch of four games in five days and unlike Greg Popovitch in San Antonio, Mike Woodson has no plans of sending any players home…
The Knicks’ formula this season has been to bombard their opponents with three-pointers and play swarming defense. Case in point, they score an average of 103 points a game, 4th in the league, while giving up 95 points a contest which ranks them 8th; an almost perfect balance of offense & defense. They lead the league in three-pointers attempted, three-pointers made, and are third in the NBA in three-point percentage.
What makes these Knicks so dangerous this season, and what is most scary, is that they’re still not playing with Amare Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, or a healthy Marcus Camby! If they were able to beat the previously unbeaten-at-home Heat in their building without these three and with no Carmelo Anthony on the floor, then maybe it’s time for the rest of the league to stand up and take notice that these Knicks ARE for real…