Sunday, April 29, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Game 1 Post Game Recap

Final Score: New York Knicks 67 Miami Heat 100

The series could not have gotten off to a worse start if you’re a Knicks fan.  The Heat, for at least one game, made it crystal clear who the dominant team is in this series.  Anyone who thought the Knicks have a fighting chance in this series may have had their minds changed with the dominant performance the Heat put on tonight.  The Knicks were thoroughly embarrassed Saturday afternoon, not being very competitive.  The Knicks fell behind by as many as 37 points at times.  This afternoon’s loss runs the Knicks losing streak in the playoffs to 11 games, longest current streak in the NBA.

-Injury Report Getting Long

The Knicks headed into the playoffs slightly banged up.  Jared Jeffries is on a strict minutes count, able to give the Knicks about 15 minutes per game because of a sore knee.  Baron Davis has had a nagging hamstring injury and has not been 100% all season.  Saturday only caused more problems for the Knicks. 

The biggest blow has to be the loss of Iman Shumpert.  The starting Knicks guard suffered a non-contact injury in the 3rd quarter and it looked bad right after it happened.  He had to be carried by teammates off the court and to the locker room. After tests were done, the news was as bad as the injury looked.  Shumpert will miss the remainder of the playoffs plus another 6-8 months as he tore his left ACL and lateral meniscus.  This is a huge blow to the Knicks chances of pulling of an improbable upset. 

Baron Davis had a great start to the game, scoring 10 points in the first quarter.  Sadly, he was not able to provide anything else for the remainder of the game as he later hurt his back.  I’m not sure how it happened but the injury bug has definitely hit and doesn’t seem like it is moving on anytime soon.

-Big 3 Has Little Impact

The Knicks big 3 front court of Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler were nowhere to be found Saturday afternoon in Miami.  Anthony was torched, dominated, smoked and any other verb you can think of by Lebron James in their match-up.  Anthony scored 11 points on 3-15 shooting, missing his first seven shots of the game.  On the other hand, James had 32 points, 23 of them coming in the first half on 10-14 from the field and 11-14 from the foul line.  One positive was that Anthony contributed on the boards, grabbing 10 of them to lead the team. 

Stoudemire was mired in foul trouble throughout the game, never really having a chance to get into a rhythm since the game got out of hand so quickly.  You have to like the aggressiveness that he came out with, but was ultimately a non-factor.  He finished with nine points on 2-7 shooting in 31 minutes of action.

Chandler was visibly off, but gave it a go knowing the Knicks needed him.  It was nice to see him give it a shot for his teammates, but he was not able to play like he's accustomed to.  Chandler went scoreless and had only three rebounds.  Even more uncharacteristically was the seven turnovers that he committed.  Chandler better get healthy quick if the Knicks have any hope of making this a series.

-Second Quarter Slump and Terrible Refereeing

If I was a member of the Knicks in any way right now, I would be waking up with a monster fine from David Stern and the NBA offices tomorrow for what I am about to say.  Luckily for me, I currently am not so I will let it fly and regret nothing.

The officiating in this game was absolutely awful.  My opinion may be a little swayed because I am a die hard Knicks fan, but today was just embarrassing for the refs.  In no way, shape or form should a team ever be rewarded 22 more FT attempts in a game like this. Everyone and their mom knew this would be a physical series because of the history these two teams have except I guess for the guys who were officiating as they handled the playoff atmosphere as poorly as three individuals could. 

This had an obvious effect on the Knicks throwing them off their game.  The whole mess of game 1 cannot be fully blamed on the refs, but they definitely did not help the process. 
I have never seen such a bias towards a player that they showed this afternoon for Lebron James.  He got call after call and was rewarded for flopping and cheap tactics.  This led to numerous free points at the foul line and a less aggressive Knicks defense because breathing on an opponent was being called as a foul.

The Heat ended the first half on a 24-2 run, courtesy of plenty of helps from the refs.  The Knicks received two technical fouls for arguing calls against James and also a flagrant-2 foul on Tyson Chandler.  The fact a pick which was legal received a flagrant-2 thanks to an Oscar worthy performance by James is sickening.  The foul was soon downgraded to a flagrant-1 but the damage was already done.  The referees had taken the Knicks out of their game and gotten into their heads and it was only worse from there.

-Any Positives?

It is hard to find any bright spots in a performance like the one that was put on tonight, so this is a slight reach.  The Knicks three main players off the bench, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak and Landry Fields did play decently well in the time given to them. 

Smith showed aggressiveness and a never back down attitude taking on the much bigger James on defense and launching from long range without fear.  He struggled at times running the point guard, but the Knicks as a team struggled, tying a franchise high for turnovers in a playoff game with 24.

Novak did what he normally does, going 2-2 from the 3 point line.  Novak also did his part on the glass, grabbing four rebounds and not backing down from a team that is obviously superior athletically to him. 

Fields did his normal thing, giving the Knicks effort and hustle.  Fields only played 18 minutes, but was able to score eight points in that time span and gave the Knicks a boost off the bench.  He was fitting in well off the bench, but very well could move back into the starting lineup with the loss to Shumpert. 

Well the series could not have gotten off to a worse start for the Knicks, but the good news is that this was only game 1.  That could also be looked at as a bad thing since we have to watch at least three more games of this, but I’m still trying to remain positive.  The Knicks just need to move on and forget about this game, just worry about what lies ahead of them.  Game 2 of the series will be played Monday night at 7:00 P.M. ET in Miami on TNT.

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