The Miami Heat made a statement and beat the Knicks last night 102-88. The Heat defense, talent and depth pushed them past Linsanity. The Heat came out in this game and wanted to succeed. They turned the Knicks over a bunch early and that set the tone. The offense would be quick hitting and fueled from defensive prowess.
In the early parts of this game there were many turnovers from both teams. The ball seemed to go this way and that, with the Heat starting out the strongest. The Knicks were the first team taking timeouts to regroup and attempt to stop the opponents momentum. That's a part of how the Heat won. Doug Collins, former player and broadcaster and current Sixers coach, stresses the importance of starting games well (and finishing quarters strong). The Heat did just that, especially opening the game.
At times the Heat had their blips where they turned the ball over or allowed open three's. This happens at times, though the inconsistency of the Heat is always a problem. While you never want let downs, there are a part of being human. This is something the Heat must continue working on, but must realize will be occasional. This wasn't a huge issue in this game. The Miami Heat knew about the hype around Jeremy Lin and this team and wanted to quiet it.
The all around bench play from the Heat beat out the Knicks. While the Knicks bench scored more than the Heat's (30-27), the overall play and intangibles the Heat bench provide supersed offense. The Knick bench is comprised largely of guys who just score the ball (yes they're missing a few guys and Jared Jeffries is the lone exception of those who played last night, he does a bit of everything). The Heat bench has guys like Shane Battier, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem. While Miller and Battier have specialties on offense (hitting three's), they are not only capable defensively, they are well rounded, veteran players.
Having a bench with veteran players who are dynamic on both ends puts your team ahead. The Heat bench didn't score more than the Knicks and they may not score more consistently. What matters is the nine rebounds Udonis Haslem grabs (one more than the whole Knick bench). Overall contributions always trounce the greatness of scoring.
Kudos to the Heat for winning this decisively. How would the Heat fare if matched against the Knicks in the playoffs?
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