1st Round: Miami Heat 104 – New York Knicks 94 (Heat 2-0)

Miami Heat Confidence Meter:  9.8 (Handing out beatdowns)meter

•  The Miami Heat to start the game used a different “cover” on Carmelo Anthony, meaning that they decided to not really devote any energy at all at defending him.  They guarded him straight up, foot on foot, not favoring either hand.  This is just my theory, so take it for what it’s worth, but I think Coach Erik Spoelstra played possum with the Heat’s defense in this game.  Carmelo Anthony shot 6-11 for 15 points in the 1st quarter against straight up, man on man defense with no help.  He shot 6-15 for 15 points for the rest of the game.  In the final 24 minutes of floor time he saw, he made 3 FG’s, committed 3 turnovers and had 4 fouls.  The Heat used the same fronting strategy they employed in game 1, except that they used Shane Battier on Melo, only when Joel Anthony was on the floor.  Dwyane Wade and Lebron James saw time on Carmelo Anthony within this strategy.  Just brilliant stuff by coach Spo.  More Brilliant still was devoting Dwyane Wade exclusively to keeping Steve Novak from getting any shots.  Yes, the Miami Heat made a concerted effort to keeping a three point specialist from even attempting any shots from beyond the arc.  Has to bring a smile to your face.

•  Offensively, the Miami Heat was at their best.  38 made FG’s on 28 assists?  That is an incredible number.  There is not a basketball team in history that can beat the Heat when they can get 28 assists for 38 FG’s while committing 8 Turnovers.  Mario Chalmers deserves alot of the credit for that.  He is being a floor general and getting the offense going quickly and efficiently, without making turnovers.  Mario Chalmers has been great in these playoffs.  It helps that his opposition is rather weak, but nonetheless he has played very well.  The Bench has also stepped up and in this one, you had the usual defense that The Warden provides, but you also got efficient scoring from Mike Miller and Shane Battier.  Both also provided valuable minutes guarding Carmelo Anthony.  This might have been the best collective game that both have played in the same game.  Mike Miller is an underrated defender, and the cerebral part of his game doesn’t get talked about enough.  He knows the defenses, and he understands, what they are trying to accomplish on each possession, and he plays his role defensively to a tee.  Battier while getting toasted one on one, then fell into the game plan after the first quarter and helped complete the job on Carmelo Anthony.  Shane Battier has been invaluable in these playoffs.

•  The Miami Heat had issues keeping Tyson Chandler off the glass.  Part of the problem was the quick, one touch nature of the Knicks offense.  There were alot of rebounding opportunities during scrambles and Tyson Chandler beat Heat big men to position for 6 offensive rebounds.  Other than that, when on the defensive glass, the Heat were on point, finding their men to box out.  The Heat were in tune and very focused on all their assignments throughout the night.  One of the better focused performances in a while from this Heat team.  Dwyane Wade, from the start, made an effort to rub off of screens tightly and get touches in the paint.  He pounded the Knicks down low.  New York just doesn’t have any competent perimeter defenders left, since Iman Shumpert got hurt.  This just has the look of a mismatch on paper that is getting realized on the floor.  This was predictable.

•  Amare Stoudemire, after getting cosmetic numbers to help his boxscore, was reportedly so frustrated that he challenged a Fire Extinguisher outside the Knicks Locker Room to a fight.  The Fire Extinguisher won.  There was blood all over the carpet, and glass on the floor.  Stoudemire left the arena with his arm in a sling and stitches in his left hand.  His status for the rest of the series is in doubt.  Dumb.  On a giggle worthy note,intentional vandalism to a safety device in a public venue is a severe offense.  My guess is that he doesn’t get charged with a crime, but has to pay a hefty fine and has to replace the Extinguisher station.  The series moves to Madison Square Garden where, Lebron James and Dwyane Wade say is their favorite arena to play in besides the AAA.  It should be a good atmosphere.

The Heat travel to New York for Game 3 on Thursday.  Tipoff is at 7:00 pm.

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