With the improved January play of the New York Knicks a distant memory, few expected that the Knicks would mount a serious challenge to the Miami Heat in Thursday's contest, and the Knicks did nothing to force people to adjust their expectations. When the final buzzer sounded, the Knicks had lost 108-82 to a vastly superior team and further proved that the team is a mess in a multitude of ways with no clear solution on hand that would allow the franchise to correct their current course into futility; actually, it would take a horde of solutions to correct all the flaws the Knicks currently possess, but one thing they have gotten very good at this season is being outplayed in the second half. There, the Knicks reign supreme and on Thursday, they further consolidated that distinction.
Although the Knicks will get credit for only one blowout defeat, over the course of the 48-minute contest, they achieved the honor of actually being blown out twice. The first blowout at the hands of the Heat took place over the first quarter and a half of the game, but it did not take. At the 6:13 mark of the second quarter, a Dwyane Wade jumper gave the Heat a 16-point lead as the Heat gave every impression of putting this game away early in thorough fashion.
However, the Knicks spent the final six minutes of the first half serving notice to the NBA that while they might lose games like it is going out of style, for brief spurts, they are able to resemble a respectable NBA club. As the first half wound down, the Knicks went on a 23-12 run, scoring on 11 of their 15 offensive possessions during that span while limiting the Heat to scoring on just six of 13 possessions. For the defensively limited Knicks, holding the Heat to just 0.92 points per possession was the equivalent of a toddler holding back a tsunami.
The improved efficiency for the Knicks on both sides of the court held for the Knicks over the first 3:24 of the third quarter before it all went horribly wrong for the club, horribly wrong being the usual state of things for the franchise. This particular stretch of horribly wrong was brought about by the abrupt stop in both scoring and defending.
After J.R. Smith's jumper brought the Knicks to within three points of the Heat, the Knicks did not score again for the next 5:01 of game time. Meanwhile, in a glaring display of unsportsmanlike conduct, the Heat poured in 11 points during the aforementioned span and built a 14-point lead while the Knicks were forgetting what they were supposed to be doing with the orange spherical object they have heard referred to as a basketball.
From then on, the game became more and more of a rout as both teams played up to, in the case of the Heat, and down to, in the case of the Knicks, their respective capabilities. The Heat finished the game as one would expect from one of the NBA juggernauts and the Knicks played out the last 20 minutes like the punch line of the NBA that they are, which naturally led to a commanding 26-point win for the Heat.
Not much can be gleaned from the Knicks' latest defeat beside the acknowledgement that they continue to be the mediocre team everyone already knows them to be. One can only assume that after they have played their final 24 games of the season, we will still hold the same opinion of them.