Friday, May 4, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Game 3 Post Game Recap

Final Score: Miami Heat 87 New York Knicks 70

Tonight provided the Knicks with their best opportunity to steal a game in the series, but were again unable to overcome a better Heat team.  The loss tonight means the Knicks are one loss closer to summer vacation and also that the Knicks are now in the record books.  Tonight’s loss gave the Knicks the most consecutive losses in the playoffs in NBA history, at 13.  For three quarters, the Knicks were able to hang with the Heat, but were sorely outplayed in the 4th quarter, resulting in a blowout loss. 

-Carmel-No Anthony
 On a night in which the Knicks needed Carmelo Anthony most, he was not able to provide one of his patented performances.  Anthony finished with 22 points, but needed 23 shot attempts to get there, going 7-23 from the field.  Anthony also added eight rebounds. 

Once again, the Knicks were unable to get Anthony into positions of strength, playing right into the Heat’s hands.  Anthony was forced into tough spots, resulting in poor shot selection and iffy ball handling, the result of five turnovers.

For a coach that preaches accountability for his players, it was good to see him take accountability for the stagnation and overall terribleness of the Knicks offense.  “Offensively, we just didn’t have it,” Woodson said.  “We were so stagnant.  I’ve got to take the heat for that.  I thought with Game 2, we moved the ball from side-to-side and tonight we played one side of the ball all night long.”

“They’re loading up on him,” Woodson continued, in reference to Anthony.  “They’re doubling him and they’re forcing him to take tough shots.  Even when he passes the ball, we’ve got to get other guys comfortable shooting the ball.  We moved the ball, their defense was solid but we still got good looks.  Out defense was solid throughout the first half and pretty much throughout the whole game until the fourth quarter and then we just, we gave in.” 

-Novak No-Show

Steve Novak replaced Amar’e Stoudemire in the starting lineup tonight and it was a rough outing to say the least.  Novak scored as many points as Stoudemire and Stoudemire was in a suit at the end of the bench.  Novak only took two shots in the first three quarters of the game, not stretching the Heat’s defense as Woodson had hoped.  The idea was that Novak would open up the court, making it easier for Carmelo Anthony to operate and enabling the Knicks to run the pick-and-roll.  It never came to fruition at any point in the game.

Novak entered the game only taking five shots and scoring nine points.  He was again exposed in the starting lineup of not being much more than a 3 point specialist.  The Heat were able to get plenty of second chance opportunities because Novak is not an adept rebounder or defender. 

It’s easy to second guess a decision after it happens, but if I were put in the same position, I would have started Josh Harrellson.  In limited minutes, Harrellson was very active for the Knicks on both the offensive and defensive boards and played great defense.  He was +8 in his five minutes of action, giving the Knicks a spark they could have severely used.

-J.R. and Tyson Bring It

There were not many positives to be brought out of this game that may have set the NBA back a few years.  It was very reminiscent of the old rivalry games between the Knicks and Heat from the 90’s.  Not everyone was prepared for such a slobber-knocker, but two people, J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler, definitely were.

Smith struggled from the field, going 5-18 for the game scoring 12 points, but he never backed down once from the duo of Lebron James and Dwayne Wade.  Smith provided great effort on the offensive and defensive ends of the court and was a trooper for Mike Woodson.  Smith also provided two highlight reel dunks that looked like they would turn the momentum of the game in the Knicks favor.  The second dunk ended an 8-0 personal run by Lebron James brought the Knicks within eight with 8:45 remaining.  The Knicks sadly were not able to build off of that as the wheels fell off after that and the Heat continued their onslaught.

Tyson Chandler was another positive for the Knicks.  Chandler looked 100 times better than he did in the first two games of the series, having a major impact on the glass and a major reason the Heat struggled so much through the first three quarters.  Chandler finished the game with 10 points, but more importantly grabbed a game high 15 rebounds, adding two blocks as well for good measure.  Chandler showed tonight why he won the Defensive Player of the Year award and how important he is to the Knicks success.

It all comes down to Sunday afternoon for the Knicks.  It is a do-or-die game, as the Knicks face getting swept and eliminated from the playoffs for the second consecutive season.  Game 4 starts at 3:30 P.M. ET Sunday afternoon back at Madison Square Garden as the Knicks look to extend their season for at least one more game.  

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