NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – The New York Knicks came into Sunday night, looking to end an eight game losing streak. It has been a rough stretch for New York, as they have not shown the progress that many are looking to see. In fact, some could argue that the Knicks have digressed during this losing skid. The chemistry just is not there, and Coach David Fizdale has struggled to find a unit to produce consistently. Sunday night, the Miami Heat came into Madison Square Garden looking to win their second straight game. Even though Miami still is contending for a playoff spot, this was a winnable game for the Knicks to rebound back.
For much of this game the Knicks played solid basketball, and even stormed back from a second half deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter. However, Miami put its foot back on the pedal and were able to pull away from New York late. New York would drop it’s ninth straight game in a row, in a 106-97 loss to Miami. The Knicks have now fallen to a dismal 10-38 record, with just a 4-17 record at the Garden. Protecting home court is crucial for NBA teams, especially considering how difficult it is to win on the road. The Knicks have done a poor job of defending the Garden this season. It even got as bad as hearing “Let’s Go Heat” chants from the majority of the Garden. To win the fans back, quite simply the Knicks need to start winning games.
In what seems to be a lost season, you have to try find positives to continue to try to progress as a team. Even though the Knicks were outlasted by the Heat, there were some good takeaways from the Knicks’ effort Sunday night. Here are a couple positive takeaways from New York’s loss to Miami:
Defense Leads to Easy Buckets
- For one of the few times this season, New York outran their opponent Sunday night. The Knicks have struggled to get easy opportunities for themselves, which has been a key factor for their offensive woes. Sunday night, New York outscored Miami 13 to 7 in fast break points. This was very encouraging to see, especially because it seemed like there was a concerted effort across the board to push the ball. The transition success was a direct result of the Knicks effort on the defensive end. This was the most active the Knicks looked during this losing skid. Hands were in the passing lanes, and shots were defended for the most part. New York was able to record 12 steals on the night, and that is what it is going to take for the Knicks to be competitive. New York will need to embrace a “blue collar mentality”, and get this team focused for 48 minutes defensively.
Trade Assets Looking Good
- There has been much speculation as far as what the Knicks will do leading up to the trade deadline. The two names that have been mentioned in trade talks have been Tim Hardaway Jr. and Damyean Dotson. Sunday night, both players showed that they could definitely help a team with playoff aspirations. Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks in scoring with 22 points, and really has been a true professional this season. With the team not winning, Hardaway Jr is still the first one on the bench cheering on his teammates. This is something that is valuable to a young team, and it’s that positive team culture that will make him desirable to trade suitors. Dotson finished with 14 points, and has shown a relentless effort that is infectious. The effort Dotson showed on the defensive end was what was most impressive. Dotson had two key steals which helped spark the Knicks’ big run to tie the game in the fourth quarter. New York has used Dotson sporadically this season, but Dotson has always stayed ready and been efficient in his time on the court. Dotson is a plug and play guy that will never lack in effort, which will definitely make him New York’s key trading piece.
Barry Holmes is a Senior Writer for PureSportsNY.com. Follow him on Twitter @BHO732
(Featured Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY)