After leading scorer and signature star Carmelo Anthony was downgraded from a game-time decision to out for the New York Knicks’ matchup with the Miami Heat, plenty of Knicks fans wondered just how New York was going to score enough to keep the Thursday night tilt interesting.
After all, this was a Knicks squad starting Kurt Thomas, Ronnie Brewer and Tyson Chandler, who aren’t exactly prime-time scorers; that figured to feature a lot of shots by hot-and-cold types like Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith and Rasheed Wallace; and that would be facing a Miami defense that, while certainly nowhere near the wrecking crew that ended last season, still seemed quick and aggressive enough to gum up the Knicks’ ball-movement-heavy offense once it no longer had to key on Anthony, the NBA’s third-leading scorer and the Knicks’ unquestioned offensive focal point. With the proverbial head of the snake already cut off, how would the Knicks adjust?
The answer, apparently: Become a hydra and attack from everywhere . Including, and most notably, from long range:
With Anthony out of the lineup, the Knicks ran pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll, swinging the ball around the court like mad to stretch Miami’s unsettled switch/hedge-heavy defense until its shape was distorted, and then routinely made one more little pass for an even more wide-open shot, frequently behind the 3-point arc. The result: 44 3-point attempts and 18 makes in a stunning 112-92 blitz . (They also took 47 shots from 2-point range and made 23 of those, but they weren’t as pretty to look at or as valuable.)
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