The Knicks headed into Game 3 as the more desperate squad. They played like
it throughout the night, but it wasn’t enough in a tough 87-70 loss to the Heat.
star power forward Amar’e Stoudemire — and already without the services
of Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert — the Heat were able to hop into a time
machine and win a grimy, physical affair that harkened to the old
Knicks-Heat rivalry of the 1990s. But unlike those epic wars of
attrition when the Knicks won three of the four series played, this Heat
squad had no intention of following in those footsteps. Miami took a
3-0 series stranglehold following gritty performances from its usual
LeBron James had 32 points, eight rebounds and
five assists, but also had
eight turnovers. He made up for that with an impressive
fourth quarter, notching 17 points.
Center Tyson Chandler said the loss was surreal, especially considering how well they played in the first half, when they held a four-point lead and held Miami to below 40 percent shooting.
“I’m not sure [what happened]. I feel like we had better ball movement in the first half, but the ball kind of slowed down in the second half,” said Chandler. “They started to make some shots and then the game got a little bit away from us in the fourth quarter. But up until that point we followed every defensive assignment. … We just had a tough time scoring. Give them credit. We fought hard, but they just beat us.”
efforts were complimented by unheralded point guard Mario Chalmers, who
added 19 points, and power forward Chris Bosh, who chipped in with nine
points, 10 rebounds and a blocked shot. Chalmers also added seven
rebounds, three steals and knocked down five 3s. Bosh’s solid night was
all the more impressive as he was jet-setting to and from Miami to revel
in the birth of the couple’s first child. The all-star left New York on
Wednesday night, witnessed the birth of his son Thursday morning and
arrived back in New York just 30 minutes before tip-off. Bosh noted upon
arrival that he was exhausted, as the journey featured 3,600 miles
worth of travel within a 24-hour period. But judging by the box score,
it was the Knicks who looked deprived of sleep most of the game.
Head coach Mike Woodson, who just two weeks ago seemed like a shoe-in to remove the interim tag from his name, was frustrated afterwards by the lackluster effort and blamed himself for not figuring things out.
“I have to do a better job at instilling confidence in guys,” said Woodson who specifically named Steve Novak as one guy he needs more from. “We just didn’t have it tonight, especially when LeBron went out [with foul trouble]. And we didn’t have it coming down the stretch. … We succumbed to them and gave in to their D.”
York shot 32 percent for the game, including 20 percent on 3-pointers. Carmelo
Anthony failed to come up big when his team needed him most, with 22 points on 7-of-22 shooting from the field.
“Their defense is awfully good, so give them credit,” said Woodson. “They were loading up on [Anthony] and forcing him to take tough shots. But we also weren’t doing enough to get others good looks when he did pass the ball.”
Chandler,who was awarded his Defensive Player of the Year award prior to opening tip, was the
Knicks’ most dependable player as he registered 10 points, 15 rebounds,
two steals and two blocks. Landry Fields, the usually-maligned shooting
guard, was surprisingly efficient as he also added nine points, four
rebounds and two assists while also playing solid perimeter defense.
the second-year veteran’s rare solid performance wasn’t enough. New York could only muster 30 second-half
Miami engineered an 11-point swing once James went to the bench with his
fourth foul at the 7:23 mark of the third quarter, as Dwyane Wade took
over the contest. Wade, who finished with 20 points, had 12 in the third
quarter. The all-star guard also added four rebounds, four assists and
five steals, as his defense was very disruptive on a Knicks offense that
struggled to find its groove all game.
“We were stagnant on offense all night. Tip your hat to them,” Woodson said. “We mostly stayed on one side of the floor tonight. It was ridiculous.”
The final dagger
by a Heat team that suddenly found its rhythm at an inopportune time for
the Knicks came in a two-minute span that featured a disallowed
3-pointer from Steve Novak at the 7:11 mark, which was then followed up
by a deep 3-pointer from Chalmers to give the Heat its largest lead of 12 with
6:07 remaining. Chalmers then added another 3-pointer two minutes later to salt
away the win.
The victory by Miami has now given them a
commanding lead in the series. The Knicks have now lost an NBA-record
13th-straight playoff game. No team in NBA history has ever come back
from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series.
» Chandler’s double-double was the 13th of his postseason career.
» The Knicks held a slight 42-20 rebounding advantage.
»Fields registered personal playoff career highs in points (nine), rebounds (four) and minutes (34).
»Novak was non-existent in his first career playoff start, as he was held scoreless on just 0-for-2 shooting in 23 minutes.
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.