Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat had been undefeated at home heading into Thursday night’s game against the New York Knicks. The Heat had won a few close games and New York was without Carmelo Anthony, so it looked like another Heat win was very possible.
Instead, Knicks guards Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith helped carve the once-vaunted Heat defense into pieces as the Knicks destroyed the Heat 112-92. It’s the second straight victory for the Knicks over the Heat and second-straight loss for the Heat after losing earlier in the week to the Washington Wizards.
The Heat has largely been on automatic pilot for most of the early part of the season and has looked at times like they’re not even trying that hard. It also helped that New York hit 18-44 three-point shots to the Heat’s 6-16.
LeBron James tried to keep the Heat in the game by nearly posting a triple-double (31 points, 10 rebounds, a nine assists). But, past James, some of the Heat’s numbers from the game were just abysmal.
Dwyane Wade was -33 in the +/- rating in the game and was 3-13 from the field en route to just 13 points in the game. Chris Bosh wasn’t much better posting a -21 and putting up 12 points and six rebounds.
The Heat’s bench didn’t help either, scoring just 19 points in the game to the Knicks’ bench scoring of 57 points.
No matter how the game was analyzed, the Heat looked awful and the Knicks schooled the Heat for the second time.
However, projecting what both teams will be when the playoffs come around can’t be done based on two games in November and December. But if the Heat believe they can coast to another championship, the NBA is giving them a rude awakening.
The most puzzling thing about the Heat this year has been their defense, which historically has been a staple of the team. The guard play of other teams has been eating up the Heat and Thursday’s game against the Knicks was no exception.
New York’s guard combination of Felton, Jason Kidd, and Novak scored a combined 69 points compared to Miami’s 29 points.
The only person that can’t be blamed for the Heat’s problems is LeBron, but he still took it upon himself to stay late Friday morning and get in some extra shooting and work to make himself better.
The Heat has to snap out of their defensive funk soon or things could really start to get away from them this season. But in the NBA, all that matters is how you’re playing when the playoffs roll around, not how you’re playing in December.