The Knicks struggled against the Heat on Sunday night, failing to show much (or any) of the fight and effort that was on display Friday against the Magic. When watching New York on a nightly basis, it's like a tale of two teams.
Against a quality team like Miami, many of the Knicks' weaknesses and vulnerabilities were exposed. Without Arron Afflalo -- whose knee MRI came back negative on Monday -- by Carmelo Anthony's side to create a balanced offensive attack, Melo quickly fell victim to a pestering opposing defense.
Unable to turn to anyone else to help set the scoring tone, the Knicks failed to put forth a consistent attack despite building up some momentum and attempting to narrow their deficit here and there. That same effort was simply not there throughout. This, of course, has been one of the team's biggest problems all season long. There's not enough depth to this team, and such players don't know how to fight back and/or win.
Here are more observations from the loss...
- Dwyane Wade quietly scorched the Knicks, pouring in his points in bunches with each passing quarter. Leading his team with 26 points, the veteran shot 9-of-20 from the field and really seemed to keep Langston Galloway guessing all game long. It was one of the first contests where the defensive-minded Galloway (who got the start for Afflalo) appeared visibly inferior and clearly outmatched.
- Carmelo Anthony played nearly 42 minutes, despite obvious struggles. He wasn't carrying the team by any means, simply because he wasn't producing enough. It wasn't necessary to play him this much, and such a misjudgment is something Kurt Rambis needs to figure out before he begins burning the star forward out, though some may argue he's already beginning to do so.
- In addition to mismanaging Anthony's minutes, Rambis doesn't seem to have a handle on how to create and/or respond to different mismatches. There were times where the Knicks were on a run, and the coach would make premature substitutions and disrupt the team's rhythm. On the flip side, he left certain players in for too long, despite clear struggles.
- The Garden crowd was clearly filled with Heat fans, who cheered for the opponent all game long. Amar'e Stoudemire arrived to a decent reception from the fans, and Knicks guards Jose Calderon and Sasha Vujacic were welcomed and/or escorted out by boos at multiple points.