BLOWOUT Tale of the Tape: Game 1 Knicks vs. Heat
We often romanticize the past. The classic New York vs. Miami series don’t need to be embellished, they were the real, grind it out, fist in the face deal. As the favorites, it was always Miami with the pressure on them. On the surface, this year’s seeding looked to bring back a classic playoff rivalry. Judging from game 1 this was wishful thinking. Let’s look at the five keys to the series and how they factored into the Heat’s lopsided game 1 win.
LEBRON vs. CARMELO
LeBron James dominated game 1 in every fashion while Anthony struggled to find his shot. James took control early and then escalated his game even higher after “the incident”, more on this later. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh were afterthoughts in this game, and not needed. This was the LeBron show! On the flip side, when Anthony isn’t hot, it is apparent there are NO other play makers on this Knicks squad.
ADVANTAGE: Miami Heat
Both teams came out focused on defense. The Miami crowd (always suspect given the warm weather) was in full “WHITE-OUT” form; ready to help the team and play the role of the 13th man.
SLIGHT ADVANTAGE: Miami Heat
This is why the Miami Heat signed Shane Battier. It had nothing to do with the regular season; it was about taking charges and hitting open three pointers. Mike Miller also joined in on the fun, but it was Battier that receives “glue guy” award for game 1. Baron Davis gave a blast from the past in the first quarter, but then disappeared. Iman Shumpert went down (and is out 6-8 months) while Steve Novak was a non-threat.
ADVANTAGE: Miami Heat
THE JEFF VAN GUNDY FACTOR
I love the fact that Jeff Van Gundy was announcing this game. When discussing the history of these teams it is impossible not to picture Jeff Van Gundy getting mopped up on the floor by Alonzo Mourning. He is part of the history and rivalry between these two teams. When Tyson Chandler got called for a Flagrant foul he lost it and showed his true colors: Jeff Van Gundy still hates the Miami Heat. Van Gundy can “appreciate” LeBron James all he wants, but he still bleeds Knick blue, at least when they are playing the Heat in the playoffs.
ADVANTAGE: There are NO winners here
Near the end of the second quarter Tyson Chandler fouled LeBron James hard, knocking him to the floor and holding the back of his head. The rest is history. Apparently this foul fueled James, leading a 20-2 run to blow the game open heading into the half, James looked like an assassin. IF LeBron can play like this in 4th quarters God help the rest of the league. James showed flashes of playoff determination that hasn’t been seen since the days of #23. AFTER, the Knicks fell apart. Not even half-time could shift the momentum: turnovers, ill-advised shots, and poor fouls were the constant. This was a tale of two games. The first 18 minutes, reminiscent of old-school Knicks-Heat battles, and the rest of the game: an over matched Knicks team creamed by the Miami Heat.
HUGE ADVANTAGE: Miami Heat
So there you have it, when your star dominates, you bring the intensity, the X-factor guys show up, and you win the mental composure game you get a blow-out. A match-up SO lopsided that not even Jeff Van Gundy’s loyalty can assist you.
By David Grant
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