The Knicks couldn’t have started their first round playoff series against the Heat much worse. After dropping the first game with a playoff record low 67 points and losing by 33 points in a massacre like fashion, the Knicks were clearly outmatched in the second game as well, losing 104-94.
The offense has struggled and the defense hasn’t looked much better. It is quite clear that the Knicks are greatly outmatched and there are a few simple reasons as to why the Knicks will, most likely, get swept in this series.
First of all, the Knicks have to work for all their offense, while the Heat get easy baskets and can get to the free throw line at ease. The Knicks offense usually involves isolation plays or telegraphed pick and roll or give and go plays. Their offense is stagnant because of the lack of variety. The Heat are able to get penetration and swing the ball around the three point line often getting open looks for their shooters. Miami has been able to get to the free throw line far more frequently than the Knicks.
Secondly, Carmelo Anthony isn’t nearly the basketball player that Lebron James is. Lebron doesn’t have to score to have a huge impact while Carmelo does. Carmelo is at his best when he is shooting a lot, which doesn’t favor the Knicks in this series. It won’t favor the Knicks because the Heat possess perimeter defenders in James and Shane Battier who can make Anthony work extremely hard to score.
Carmelo must be more aggressive in getting the ball in his spots. He’s allowing James and Battier to push him out of his spots and sometimes entirely out of the play. He must also look to drive to the hoop more instead of settling for the mid-range jumpers that he has been taking.
Finally, after a post game meltdown, Amar’e Stoudemire cut his hand and will miss game three (at least) and possibly more time. Crazily enough, this might actually be a positive for the Knicks. As of now, they’re not going to win a game against the Heat, but, with a new and fresh lineup, the Knicks may increase their chances slightly.
Stoudemire has been killing the Knicks defensively. Although never a player known for his defense, he was always enough of a dynamic offensive player to somewhat offset his lack of defensive ability. It seems as if roughly 6-10 points in each of the first two games were related directly to Stoudemire not knowing where to be on the defensive side of the ball.
Carmelo will be able to slide over to the Power Forward position which will create more space for the rest of the offense. The possibility of winning this series is grim at best, but, if the Knicks can win game three and take each game after that one by one, anything is possible.