With most analysts and fans accepting the fact that Miami Heat will beat the New York Knicks in their first-round series, no one was expecting the massacre that took place at the American Airlines Arena Saturday afternoon.
Miami sent a message to the Eastern Conference and the rest of the league that the NBA championship is their’s to lose, with a blowout Game 1 win over the Knicks, 100-67.
The Knicks came out of the gates unafraid and attacking on the offensive end.
Baron Davis, the 13-year vet, played hungry and inspired, leading the Knicks with 10 points. A’mare Stoudemire erupted for an early slam in the post, but then disappeared for the majority of the game, finishing with nine points and only five rebounds. His frontcourt teammate Tyson Chandler, last year’s playoff hero for the champion Dallas Mavericks, battled the flu before the game and was visibly not his normal DPOY candidate self.
For the Heat, LeBron James showed why he’s making a strong case for this year’s MVP, dominating the Knicks the entire game, scoring 12 of his 32 points in the 1st quarter.
If you were watching the game with friends or interacting in the Twitter world, it was obvious what people were talking about – the officiating.
In the first quarter Stoudemire and Udonis Haslem got into a little battle of words after a foul call. Both players play with passion and intensity, and for God’s sake its Miami-New York playoff basketball. The refs overreacted and called double technical.
I muted my TV and heard 1990’s basketball laughing. This isn’t golf; this is basketball where there are going to be words said and tempers flaring. A huge part of the game is trash talk, and it is a shame the NBA and its officials overreact in these situations.
The rest of the 1st half the Heat showed why they are the favorites to come out of the East.
Carmelo Anthony, who set April ablaze with his shooting, scoring 30 points and shooting 50% from the field, just couldn’t find his shot. It wasn’t even LeBron’s defense; Melo was missing shots he normally makes.
Taking the lead was always one big run away, usually in the three-to-nine point range, but it felt like it was 20. Early in the second quarter. Miami was sucked the momentum out of the Knicks, taking 4 charges and getting Chandler into early foul trouble. The turnovers turned into points, especially from Shane Batter’s 3-point shot, which did a terrific job denying Carmelo the ball, all game long.
If you were on Twitter late in the second quarter it seemed like the whole world was talking about LeBron, and it wasn’t because of his 23 points at half.
LeBron, the self proclaimed king of the league, is listed at 6’8 250 pounds. That’s a scary structure, but he didn’t play so scary on this one play. Tyson Chandler set a hard foul on him with a check in the back. Foul? Yes. Acting like you got shot in the back and walking around the court like you just got pushed in the back by Ray Lewis circa 2004?
Not so manly.
Also in the third quarter, Melo pushed gently on LeBron to get separation, and naturally the almighty King fell to the ground.
It takes a little more than a one hand push to make a 250 pound man fall, sorry LeBron you didn’t fool anyone but the officials who made it feel like every time the Heat had the ball there was a foul and every time the Knicks had the ball they were punching the defenders in the face.
A 54-31 halftime score only got worse for the Knicks in the second half. The Knicks played with no pride and no heart. Miami did whatever they wanted to do on both sides of the court. It was an embarrassment to watch.
The bad only got worse when stud rookie Iman Shumpert went down with a knee injury, a scene Knicks fans witnessed on opening day. Before ending the total domination of the third quarter, LeBron added three more to his 32 with a last second three-pointer to make it 81-47 Miami.
Game 1 was an ugly loss for the Knicks, as Miami rolled over them.
The Knicks and their fans have to realize if you lose by 33 or one, it’s only one loss. They have to play a full game; they have to play more like they did in the first quarter.
Shumpert looks to miss time and Baron Davis isn’t giving the Knicks the floor time they need out of him.
Anthony has to step up to the plate. This is his team and he has to take pride in not getting embarrassed every night to the Heat. STAT needs to show up and play likes he’s worthy of $100 million contract he signed.
This is only one game, but it was one hell of a showing by Miami and a lack of pride on behalf of the Knicks. New York has not lost two in a row under Coach Mike Woodson; so expect a much better showing in Game 2; although if they give the type of effort they gave today, it will be four straight.
See you Monday night in Miami.