Monday, February 28, 2011

Hot Points: Knicks Knock Heat, Raise Concerns

February 28, 2011

  • Sunday night's loss to the New York Knicks bumped the Miami Heat's record against Eastern Conference contenders to 4-8 (that includes Boston, Orlando, Chicago and New York) - Miami is yet to beat the Celtics or Bulls. 
  • After taking a 15-point lead in the second quarter the Heat allowed a 16-0 run by the Knicks, giving New York a one-point lead entering the half. During that stretch, no timeouts were called by Miami as Erik Spoelstra settled for his routine rotation substitutions. 
  • In the second half, the Heat only mustered 35 points and made a Mike D'Antoni-led team - that is third-worst in the league at points allowed (106 per game) - look like an elite defense. Careless turnovers, stagnant play sets and poor shot selection were all to blame. 
  • As Michael Wallace of ESPN.com masterfully put it, Chauncey Billups showcased what a true point guard can provide to a team, further exposing Miami's weakness in the process. Wallace even offers some solutions to Miami's woes at the "floor general" position.
  • Dwyane Wade had an off game offensively, only scoring 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting. And the bench production (15 points total, 10 from Mike Miller) was lackluster - Eddie House and James Jones shot 0-for-5 from behind the arc.
  • The worst part about the loss was that it was to a New York team that was basically brand new and had little time together. You would think the chemistry the Heat built over the course of 55-plus games would trump that of the new-look Knicks - who've played only two games together before Sunday. 
  • Miami continues its tough stretch of schedule Thursday against Orlando at home, followed by an overnight trip to San Antonio to play the Spurs on Friday. Perhaps they can string together a few signature wins as the playoffs draw closer and gain confidence against elite teams. 
  • These final 20-sum games will be crucial for Miami as they will need to find ways to improve in various areas that are essential to post-season success. That includes addressing half-court offense, point guard play and center rotation. Keep an eye out on the buyouts that come in the next days, we may see a new face join the Heat. 

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