By Joe Munley
In the aftermath of his team’s 104 – 94 loss to the Miami Heat, Amare Stoudemire punched a glass case containing a fire extinguisher on his way to the Knicks locker room. The result of the blow was not favorable to Stoudemire’s left hand as it was lacerated so deeply that it took paramedics and team doctors for both the Knicks and the Heat to patch it up.
I can understand that Amare was upset and frustrated… The loss put his team in a 2 game hole against a Heat team that is playing extremely well. Everything – lucky bounces & smitten refs – seems to be going Miami’s way in this one thus far. And then there’s the fact that even though he was playing at such a high level he just didn’t seem to get the ball when it could have mattered.
So, yeah I can understand that Amare wanted to hit something – anything – on his way to the locker room after that loss. Unfortunately, that one action served to sum up the play of the Knicks throughout those first two games in Miami. It was impulsive, undermining, and stupid.
While the Heat flopped, acted, and grinned their way through Game One, the Knicks allowed themselves to get caught up in the drama that the Heat were creating. Instead of worrying about the score – and boy did it get out of hand quick – they were worried about putting the next lick on LeBron. If not that, then they were more worried about the calls that weren’t going their way to notice that the Heat had gone up by 30 points.
Game Two started off on a better tilt for the Knicks. They were clicking, they were playing ball, and they were keeping the game close. Carmelo Anthony was at his best in the first half. The ball was in his hands as soon as he crossed half court & he was putting himself in position to score. The problem came in the 3rd quarter when Melo’s shot dried up. He seemed to disappear on the other end of the court – the end where you play something that starts with a ‘D’ – and he still didn’t see the need to defer to Amare in the post. In the end, when all was said and lost, Carmelo had taken 26 shots to Amare’s 9.
There have been whispers in the press, of course, that this was the real reason Amare punched the glass. He knows he was ignored, and he knows he could have been the difference in a game that was very winnable for his team. Instead of heading to New York down 2-0, the Knicks could have gotten out of Miami with a split.
As a team, the Knicks played two very undisciplined & impulsive games. And in the aftermath of Game Two, on the way to their locker room, one final act of recklessness erased any chance the Knicks might have had at clawing back into this series.