Total Humiliation for Knicks in Game One

Heat use huge second quarter run to touch off rout of Knicks

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Stopping LeBron will have to wait until Game Two.

    There was a time when it looked like the Knicks might have a chance of pulling out an upset in Game One of their series with the Heat.

    And then the second quarter happened. By the time it was over, the Heat were up by 23 and well on their way to an easy 100-67 victory.

    Things actually didn't start out too bad for the Knicks in the second and they had cut a six-point Miami lead down to one five minutes into the period despite getting almost nothing from Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire. From there, though, things went off the rails like a runaway train in a Michael Bay movie.

    The Heat went off on a 24-2 run to close the half fueled in equal measures by Knicks turnovers, referee whistles and LeBron James. They gave the ball away 13 times in the second quarter, a mind-boggling number even if you account for the fact that the Heat are very good at playing defense.

    Some of those turnovers were offensive fouls which contributed to the Knicks being whistled for 20 infractions compared to just eight for the Heat. A staggering 28-5 Heat advantage in free throws ensued, causing the final minutes of the second quarter to be nothing more than a mixture of whistles and cheering Heat fans.

    Part of the disparity can certainly be attributed to the fact that the Knicks offense was a total mess, settling for outside shots and not attacking the rim enough to draw contact. Another part can be attributed to an officiating crew that seemed to be operating under orders to protect Miami players at all costs.

    That led to one of the most ridiculous flagrant foul calls in recent history when the refs attempted to eject Chandler for setting a pick on James. They are forced to review things by replay, at which point the refs had to admit that their indefensible conclusion of a flagrant two foul had to be revised downward.

    It was still too much as the only flagrant thing in sight was James' overacting as he flopped to the ground. It was one of several flops by James, who, in his defense, might have been doing a performance art piece dedicated to recently caught fish.

    That's a shame because his sub-European soccer antics took away from the fact that James played a dominant half to help the Heat to their huge lead. He wound up with 32 points and played the whole game with an edge that sent a clear message that he doesn't take kindly to those wondering if the Knicks can hang with the Heat enough to win even one game.

    Things only went downhill from there. Mike Woodson and Anthony got technicals in the first couple of minutes of the third quarter with Anthony's coming for the super-egregious act of throwing the ball to a referee after a whistle.

    It would be wonderful to sit back and blame the whole mess on the fact that the game was poorly officiated, but it would be a pretty radical way of obscuring the truth. The truth is that the Knicks broke from the gates poorly, got almost nothing from their best players and then fell apart when the game started to turn against them in the second quarter.

    The whole thing resembled the worst moments of this Knicks season from the utter inability to generate coherent offense to the defensive carelessness of the Mike D'Antoni days. If the Heat never took a free throw, they probably still win this game going away because the Knicks were just that putrid in every phase of the game.

    Should all that not be depressing enough for your Saturday afternoon, let's throw in the fact that Iman Shumpert had to be carried into the locker room during the third quarter after injuring his knee. There's no prognosis for the rest of the series for Shumpert.

    There isn't one for the Knicks either. As bad as this was, it was just one game and things can play out differently on Monday night.

    Or at least that's what every Knicks fan will be telling themselves for the next two days.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.