You could watch the Miami Heat a million times and see that the team often plays uninterested and entitled — like they can coast because their spot is already reserved in the Eastern Conference Finals. I could write this article a million times and never waver. But instead of that narrative, let’s give the New York Knicks their due.
“They just outplayed us in the second half,” coach Erik Spoelstra said via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
The Knicks stepped on the court and outworked last year’s champs. And they did it from the inside and outside, without their No. 2 scorer J.R. Smith (DNP-CD) or their top defender, Tyson Chandler (flu).
They even got hot from beyond the arc during their 10-point win, displaying the same dilemma that the Golden State Warriors have. When those three-pointers are falling, the team looks great. When they aren’t going in, critics look to kill them.
However, the team from the Mecca showed what happens when the Heat dig a hole too deep for their defense to step up and change.
It was a routine loss that became bad when a pocket of obnoxious Knicks fans came out of hiding. This is naturally what a rivalry brings, so it was both weird and reassuring when Miami’s owner, Micky Arison, took to twitter to put it all in perspective:
Everyone CHILL its JAN 9th #LetsGoHeat
— Micky Arison (@MickyArison) January 10, 2014
After all, the team is off to their best start in the franchise’s almost 26-year history which is probably why LeBron James and Dwyane Wade looked like they were trying to make more MSG All-Star moments. It’s probably the same reason why the post-game hugs and smiles felt like 30 men trying to make plans to hit the club later.
Here’s to hoping that potential hangovers — on the court and otherwise — do not carry over to nickname night in Kings County.