Should the Heat be Concerned?
The big question coming into this season concerned the New York Knicks and how their performance would be following their change at the head coaching position. Mike Woodson, formerly an assistant coach, took over the reins of the team midway through last year after Mike D’Antoni quit. While the team made it to the playoffs they lost to the Heat in five games. This offseason, Woodson spent training camp teaching his players how to play good defense, as they had been lacking in that department for quite some time. To clarify, Mike Woodson was the defensive assistant coach for the 2004 Detroit Pistons, the year they won the title. Basically, he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to defense.
As the season began, we saw a Knicks team jump out to their best record in almost 20 years when they began the season at 7-0. What’s more is that they did this without the help of one of their A-List players, Amare Stoudemire, who is scheduled to return on Christmas Day against the Lakers.
On Friday, the New York Knicks played the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena in South Beach. It would seem to be a normal matchup, except the Knicks were playing without Carmelo Anthony, who lacerated his middle finger the night before in Charlotte. That said, this nationally televised game was said to be riding on whether Melo played or not. If he played, it’d be a good game, if he didn’t, the game would be a wash out for the Knicks. When the news came out that Melo, who was a game-time decision, wasn’t going to play, some people immediately wrote off the game and declared it a Heat blowout. However, that wasn’t what happened.
What ended up happening was the exact opposite of what all the “experts” predicted. Plainly, the Knicks won by 20 points for a final score of 112-92. The Heat got embarrassed by a Melo-less Knicks team…at home…by 20 points…on national television!!! This was also following an embarrassing loss in Washington where the Heat lost to the Wizards, who’d won only one game prior to their match up with the Heat and they didn’t have the services of their star player John Wall.
This leads me to one question – Should the Miami Heat be worried after losing to the Knicks at home without Melo AND after losing to the Wizards just one night before?
The Heat had another embarrassing loss to the Knicks at the beginning of November by 20 points at the Garden. So, should they be concerned? My answer is a resounding yes. If the New York Knicks are playing as well as they have this season, beating the Heat by 20 points both at the Garden AND at home, they have a serious problem with the way their team is playing. Not to mentioned their loss to the Wizards, one of the lowest ranked teams in the League.
If the Miami Heat want to have a legitimate chance of defending their NBA Championship, they need to rethink their previous playing strategy and techniques and step up their game. If they’re going to lose back-to-back games in as embarrassing a fashion as this, they might want to start considering waving the white flag.