(New York, NY) – The Miami Heat hoped to rebound from their Tuesday night loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Wednesday’s bout against the New York Knicks, but instead it was just more of the same as the Heat suffered their second lopsided loss in a row, 115-86.
“That’s the discouraging part of the game,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said following the game. “Regardless of who we have out there, we want to lay it all out there, compete every single possession, and it just is hard to figure out this team right now. That’s what I’m trying to really figure out one game to the next, and it clearly was not the same team that started the road trip from a defensive standpoint. At the same time they could be that the next game, that’s what’s so hard to figure out about this group.”
When Knicks star power forward Kristaps Porzingis went down with an ankle injury early in the game, it seemed like the Heat would be able to fight their way to a much-needed victory. What ended up taking place, however, was a Knicks victory in which all 13 players who took the court contributed points to their team’s overwhelming victory.
The decisive run in the game began late in the first quarter. With 3:06 left in the first quarter, the Heat were down just four points, 23-19. Following a 10-3 run, however, the Heat found themselves in a double-digit hole heading into the second frame, 33-22.
The 11-point deficit the Heat had faced was by no means insurmountable, but sloppy play on offense and uninspired play on defense proved too much to overcome. Miami ended the game with a team field-goal percentage of 27 percent and were outrebounded, 52-31, in the game. Its inability to perform on both sides of the court led to a steadily growing deficit. Halfway through the second quarter, the Heat were down 18 points, 50-32, and by the end of the first half, the Knicks lead had grown to 21 points, 65-44.
Throughout the second half, the Heat showed very little signs of life as the team’s scorers failed to hit the shots necessary to get back into the game. Goran Dragic struggled for the second game in a row with a six-point, three-assist, and two-rebound performance, and Wayne Ellington failed to duplicate his recent three-point shooting success and finished 1-for-7 from behind the arc.
“The last two games we couldn’t stop nobody,” Dragic said from the team’s locker room. “It feels like that they are playing 5-on-0 and they can score at will and that kind of hurt us. Then you, of course, don’t get no confidence, you cannot make shots, but the most disturbing is defense and second-chance points, too.”
Bam Adebayo, who started in relief of Hassan Whiteside, struggled as well. The rookie big man logged 31 minutes of play against the Knicks. While he had scored a career-high 19 points in 18 minutes one night before, he managed just nine points, five rebounds, and two steals in Wednesday’s contest. Adebayo struggled defensively as well. Knicks center Enes Kanter bullied the University of Kentucky product throughout the game on his way game-high 22-point and 14-rebound performance.
By the final frame, it was clear that the game was lost for the struggling Miami squad. They narrowly avoided an embarrassing 30-point loss after Tyler Johnson hit a last-minute 3-pointer, his second of the game.
The Heat will look to put this week’s two blowout losses behind them when they return to American Airlines Arena to face off against the New Orleans Hornets on Dec. 1.