Well, that about does it. The Knicks now own the longest playoff losing streak in NBA history after dropping their thirteenth straight (over eleven years) in Game Three tonight against the Heat. What's bizarre is I'm not even sure how happy I'd be to see them take Game Four and break that streak. A large part of me (at least right now, with the bitter taste of that loss still in my mouth) just wants this series and this season to end. Like NY Tony said in the thread, this has gotten pretty depressing.
If the Knicks were going to take one, this was the one to take. Miami's offense was hideous. Part of that was due to solid Knick defense, but a lot of it was just jumper-forcing, open shot-clanking, unforced turnover-tossing garbage. Their bench was silent, producing just six points on twelve shots. And in a welcome change, the Knicks finally seemed to be getting the (home?) benefit from the referees.
After a slow start in a ghastly first quarter (for both teams), the Knicks appeared to be seizing those opportunities. New York broke out of what was essentially a nine-quarter-long funk to take a double-digit lead in the second quarter. The bench spearheaded the run by harassing Miami into jumpers and precarious passes, holding them without a field goal for a solid ten minutes. The offense never really clicked, though, so Miami's swoon didn't amount to that large of a deficit. That proved true when the Heat sliced New York's lead to four before halftime. That did not bode well for the second half.
The aesthetics of the game never really improved. Both teams played pretty good defense, resulting in a prolonged exchange of bad, late, contested shots. The major difference, it seemed, was that Miami's previously cold stars erupted, while New York's guy continued to sputter. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James connected on a series of silly, stomach-turning shots and-- just between the two of them-- outscored New York in the second half. On the other end, Carmelo Anthony jabbed and juked and spun through Miami traffic, but couldn't get anything to drop. And that did it. Neither head coach made adjustments to improve his team's offensive flow, but only Erik Spoelstra benefited from the individual heroics needed to overcome that.
For the Knicks, it was a terribly timed off night from an exhausted-looking Melo (7-23) and similar production from J.R. Smith (5-18), the only other guy capable of conjuring offense out of nothing (that dunk, though...). Baron Davis had his moments, but tossed way more lazy passes than anybody ever should in a playoff game. Tyson Chandler hardly got the ball and couldn't get any of his putbacks to drop. Landry Fields was brilliant in the second quarter, but his presence barely registered thereafter. Steve Novak spent most of his first start failing to get open, some of it getting ignored when he was open, and the rest of it blowing the opportunities that he did receive. Mike Bibby played pretty well. Good work, Mike Bibby.
So, we ended up with a conundrum that looked very familiar to those of us who sat through the beginning of this season: Melo worked his ass off to get himself looks but couldn't get anything to fall so he passed but none of his teammates capitalized on his passes so he worked his ass off to get himself looks but couldn't get anything to fall so he passed but none of his teammates capitalized on his passes so he...you know. It was really, really aggravating to watch, and you can thank a severely short-handed rotation, a coach unwilling or unable to adjust and experiment, and a terrific opposing defense for your aggravation (it DOES sound familiar, doesn't it?).
This has sucked, but at least we're nearing the end. Or maybe they'll steal a game and put a scare into the Heat and give us a little excitement. Probably not. We're almost at the point when a lot of questions about the roster and the staff and the whole future of this organization must be answered. Almost. In the meantime, please, please be kind to one another. Here's this baby sea lion learning to swim: