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Heat 97, Knicks 78: "Never would have happened if we'd started Sasha"

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They need to stop playing Miami.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat own the Knicks at the moment. New York played almost one entire half of good basketball before foul trouble, cold shooting and dominance from random Heat bench douches sent the boys in orange and blue spiraling to a 97-78 defeat.

This game was lost with about three minutes left in the second quarter, when Kristaps Porzingis sat down after picking up his third foul. The Heat, who were down seven at the time, smelled fresh blood. New York, meanwhile, suddenly decided they could only pass the ball to Kevin Seraphin. Miami closed the half on a run, taking a one-point lead before the break. The Knicks' starting unit actually took back the lead in the first few minutes of the third ... until both Robin Lopez and Kristaps picked up a fourth foul. The Heat turned on the jets, the Knicks fell apart so completely that it looked like Carmelo Anthony might cry, and that was all she wrote. Lame.

Notes:

- Melo started out with a quick 11 points in the first quarter ... and that was it. Zero points in the final three quarters for the Knicks' leading scorer, who was absolutely torched on the other end by Gerald Green in the second half. We've learned over the past three games what a thin margin for error this team has -- they've gotten away with a few off games from Melo, but they're not going to be able to overcome many nights like these.

- Gerald Green, like all true Heat guards since the dawn of time, is a complete prick. He's a prick even when he isn't destroying the Knicks, but he took special care in being even more of a prick tonight.

- Pat Riley just stumbles over his dick into good players, doesn't he?

- Another ho-hum 11-point, 8-rebound, three-block, two-steal game for Porzingis. The most important number, however, was the foul total. Kristaps has cut the fouling dramatically of late, so let's hope this game was an aberration. He has become just as important to the Knicks' on-court success as Melo.

- Kristaps did nail Dwyane Wade with a stiff-arm in the first quarter, so he remains awesome.

- The bench finally got back on track tonight. Kyle O'Quinn came in early for Lopez and finally did some Kyle O'Quinn-ish stuff. He didn't shoot well, but he grabbed eight rebounds and dropped three dimes, including this beauty:

Jerian Grant took advantage of a few more screens from the likes of Lopez and finally got a few layups to drop. He also broke out of his passing slump, notching six assists without a turnover. And Langston Galloway finally hit a three! This felt like the first time in a while that the worst plus-minus lines belonged to starters (-23 for Melo, -16 for Arron Afflalo, -12 for Jose Calderon). So that's ... good, I guess? As JR and the Off-Balance Shots mused at the end of this game, there's no way any of this would have happened if Sasha Vujacic were still in the starting lineup! Let's keep our sense of humor, people!

The Knicks stay home for a Sunday appointment with the struggling Houston Rockets -- coincidentally enough, the last team to lose to the Knicks. It would downright neighborly of them to play like crap and lose to the Knicks again. Or maybe this team could simply play better and take care of their own business.