Because of their success early in the 2012-2013 NBA season and their position near the top of the Eastern Conference standings, the New York Knicks are often discussed as one of the teams that could challenge the Miami Heat in the East on the way to the NBA Finals. After Sunday’s game between the two teams, those conversations should probably stop.
The Knicks only ended up losing the game 99-93 on Sunday afternoon, but that doesn’t tell the entire story.
New York held a 14-point lead going into halftime over Miami, but were then outscored by 10 points in both the third and fourth quarters, giving the Heat the victory. This is largely due to the fact that the Knicks are currently relying too heavily on the three-point shot and on J.R. Smith.
In the first half, the Knicks shot 6-17 from beyond-the-arc. That’s not great by many standards, but it kept them in the lead. They were even worse in the second half though, shooting just 2-12 from long-range. They also only took 39 total field goal attempts in the second half, meaning that a little less than one-third of their shots were threes. Smith was a large part of this problem, going just 2-10 from three-point range in the second half.
This is what the Knicks have been doing for the past month or so now. Smith is taking too many shots, even if he’s not having a great shooting night, and the team is hoisting up entirely too many threes. There’s no denying that they have a solid three-point shooting team, but when the game is on the line, they settle for long-range shots. That’s especially not wise when you consider they have one of the strongest and proficient scorers in Carmelo Anthony on their team.
If New York continues to play in this type of style where they are constantly settling for threes instead of letting Melo work in the post or mid-range or moving the ball around until there is a seam in the defense, they are not contenders. Strong defensive teams like the Heat or the Indiana Pacers will adjust to this style easily and ultimately render it ineffective. If the Knicks want to compete in the East this season, they’ve got to change something because this style is only going to take them so far.