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Heat 110, Knicks 88: “...that escalated quickly”

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An ugly night in South Beach

NBA: New York Knicks at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Whenever the Knicks play the Heat, I remember this:

Easy to forget the Knicks only scored 78 points in that series-clinching, Jeff Van Gundy-job-saving win. How times have changed. They scored 88 last night but suffered their first blowout of the season in Miami, 110-88.

New York shot poorly from the field and the charity stripe, when they even got to the line, which was rare (some things never seem to change). It took eight minutes for someone other than Tim Hardaway Jr. to hit a field goal. A 14-0 run fueled by the three-ball put the Knicks up 11 after the first quarter. The threes were there, especially early on.

Then the offense got caught in a vice (pun mos def intended), something called Rodney McGruder happened, and before you knew it a 45-20 third quarter saw Miami hit 8 of 10 three-pointers and the Knicks miss all eight of theirs, and that’s it. We couldn’t do nothing about it.

Let’s get to the minutiae. This game is best left behind you. Move on. You’d better move on.

Notes:

  • The Knicks’ leading shot-takers were Mario Hezonja and Damyean Dotson. Dotson hit most of his shots and also had 10 rebounds and a couple assists. Hezonja didn’t, didn’t and didn’t.
  • Dotson’s 20 points gave him three straight double-digit scoring games.
  • It used to be, like, why don’t guys behind the 3-point line take a step in and shoot a long two? The efficiency kink bulldozed that subculture. Hezonja launched a few flat-footed shots from comfortably beyond the arc. Why not step in till you’re just behind the line?
  • Kobe Bryan’s green light to take any shot he wants + Lance Thomas’ shooting accuracy = Hezonja. What it must be like to wake up every day like that.
  • Care of MSG graphics: Hardaway is the first Knick to score 24 or more the first four games of a season since Patrick Ewing in 1991-92. That ‘92 squad is still my favorite Knick team ever. What’s yours?
  • Miami’s starters outscored New York’s 86-40.
  • McGruder had 16 in the first half and hit all five of his shots, and my fiancee could not quit gushing about his hair.
  • Hardaway was visibly annoyed with Trey Burke and Enes Kanter at points last night after defensive lapses. I can see that as positive and as laughable.
  • Hassan Whiteside did that thing where he plays well enough for one night to almost make you forget why Miami would love to trade a guy they invested $98M in two years ago who’s still on the right side of 30.
  • Josh Richardson had himself the John Starks special tonight, missing six of his first seven shots, then drilling the last seven.
  • Miami took 28 free throws. The Knicks took 10. Feel like that’s been happening this whole century.
  • Late in the game Frank Ntilikina earned his first two free throw attempts of the season.
  • Ntilikina and Dotson led the Knicks in minutes tonight. If this were a year ago and the Knicks were blown out like this, Jarrett Jack and Michael Beasley would’ve. Even in darkness, there is light.
  • Your first Luke Kornet sighting this year. I was happy to see the big guy out there.
  • Look who took a break from retirement to attend the game.

Cool to see Chris Bosh there, too.

  • Mad Heat love for Fiz.
  • MSG showed Pat Riley and Alonzo Mourning sitting courtside. My ‘90s heart can’t help softening a bit toward Riles. The absolute tiniest bit. Because those four years, man...God they were something. Zo remains my most hated opposing NBA player ever. The only pro athletes I’ve disliked as much as him were Roger Clemens and Ron Hextall.
  • G.O.A.T. one-time Knick trainer Mike Saunders was at the game. This really was a night to celebrate the past. Certainly was no fun as a marker of the present.
  • This game was tough to watch. This season will often be tough to watch. But in a parallel dimension not far removed from our own, we’re sitting through the winter of Carmelo Anthony’s career.

Quoth LatvianPrankster: “...that escalated quickly.” Speaking of escalation: Golden State comes to New York Friday. You know what that means.

See y’all then.