On Wednesday, theNew York Knicks traveled to Miami to take on the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami entered the game with 30 wins, including a 17–5 record at home, compared to the Knicks’ 11-12 record away.
New York has struggled extensively this season to back up an exciting 2020-21 campaign filled with heroic play and great performances. However, they currently sit three games below .500 after dropping an embarrassing game to the Heat.
The starters, in general, were abysmal, with Julius Randle recording 11 points and a -34 +/-. Every starter recorded a negative +/-, including RJ Barrett, who hosted the worst on the team at -36. Barrett did contribute 17 points and three rebounds, but his defense was so poor that Thibodeau benched him for the entire 4th quarter when the game was well out of reach.
Down 30 points at one point in the game, the Knicks gave up well before the final buzzer sounded. Off the bench, second-year power forward Obi Toppin posted 18 points, five rebounds, and a +20 +/-. Immanuel Quickley added 12 points and seven assists, leading the team as a facilitator.
The Knicks simply can’t sustain success with such awful play from the starters, unless they’re recording 110+ points per game, they can’t afford to play lackluster defense either.
Jimmy Butler recorded 22 points on the opposite side, and Duncan Robinson posted 25, connecting on seven three-point attempts. Tyler Herro scored 21 off the bench as Miami recorded a 43.2% hit rate from downtown.
The Knicks shot 34.1 percent from three-point range and 42.2% from the field as a team. However, the team has struggled considerably from the free-throw line this season, hitting 64.7% in the loss. This season, though, the Knicks host the 25th ranked free throw percentage at 75.2%, and more often than not, it is a factor that negatively impacts them on a daily basis.
Tom Thibodeau’s squad severely lacks energy and continuity, so they will continue to stare down the same problems for the rest of the season unless they make a significant move at the trade deadline.