Photo: Lynne Sladky, AP

Lack of effort killed the Knicks

The New York Knicks have shown a valiant effort in all of their games this season except for tonight. New York may have a young and rejuvenated team, but the old Knicks reared its ugly head against the Miami Heat. Led by Hassan Whiteside‘s 22 points and 14 rebounds, Miami thrashed the Knicks 110-87 at American Airlines Arena.

Whiteside dominated the Knicks in the paint, and he had a lot of help. Josh Richardson contributed with 21 points, 8 rebounds. Rodney McGruder also played a vital role in the demolition of the Knicks. He finished with 19 points.

Damyean Dotson was the main spark plug for the Knicks. He shot 8-of-14 and finished with 20 points. Also, he led the Knicks in rebounding with 10. Tim Hardaway Jr. ended the game with 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Overall, the Knicks starting lineup mustered up a measly 40 points.

Miami destroyed the Knicks in the second and third quarter

New York started the game strong with an impressive performance in the first quarter. After one, New York led 27-16. What happened next was an absolute masterclass from Miami on offense and defense.

Miami quickly erased New York’s 11-point lead with a 16-5 run to start the second quarter. Tyler Johnson was one of the main catalysts during Miami’s run. He scored two baskets in a row to tie the game, and he scored the go-ahead basket to give Miami a two-point lead. Miami maintained their two-point lead going into halftime, 47-45. In the third quarter was when New York folded like cheap tents.

Since David Fizdale took over as Knicks head coach, the third quarter has become a stage for the players to fight back with inspiring performances. Against the Heat, the ghost of New York past decided to take over the spirit of the Knicks players on the court. There was no energy or fight from the Knicks, and Miami made sure to put the Knicks to the sword. Overall, Miami shot 15-of-20, 8-of-10 from three, and outscored the Knicks 45-20 in the third.

Miami’s 13-0 run, early in the quarter, devastated the Knicks. After Kanter made a midrange jumper to bring the Knicks within two, 49-51, Miami bombarded the Knicks with threes. Richardson and McGruder made back-to-back threes to push Miami’s lead to eight. Whiteside made two free throws after McGruder’s three, then Richardson nailed another three to cap off Miami’s run.

Every brick New York threw up, Miami made them pay. Midway through the third, New York lost their desire, and Miami ran rampant. A prime example of the Knicks’ lost desire came three minutes into the third quarter. After Trey Burke missed a layup to cut Miami’s lead to three, he didn’t hustle back on defense. His lack of hustle led to a wide-open three for McGruder. That basket resulted in a negative five-point swing for the Knicks.

Overall, Miami outscored the Knicks 76-38 in the second and third quarter combined. At one point, Miami held a 27-point lead.

The lone positive for the Knicks

Dotson has been impressive lately, but the performance of Mitchell Robinson is very encouraging. In garbage time, he showed that he could be a threat off pick-and-rolls and provide a defensive presence in the paint. Opposing teams have outscored New York in the paint every game this season. Robinson’s presence in the paint may help New York to be more productive near the basket.

If New York wants to win, the players have to put in a much better effort if they are to beat the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Friday. If not, the Warriors may run the Knicks out of Madison Square Garden by halftime.

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