Time is running out for the Knicks.
They trail the Heat 2-0 after Monday night's 104-94 loss in Game Two of their playoff series and the chances of turning that around feel very remote. On a night when the Heat couldn't ever totally close out the Knicks, there was never a moment where you actually believed the Knicks could win the game.
The loss was the 12th straight in the playoffs for the Knicks, tying a record for futility held by the Grizzlies. Setting a new mark feels painfully likely.
It was a game where the scoreboard always made the game seem closer than your eyes would have you believe. The Knicks would push into the lead a little bit, make a couple of stops and then the Heat would simply close whatever loophole the Knicks were exploiting to increase the spread once again.
While not as humiliating as Game One, this loss was almost more frustrating because it sucked out the hope of things really ever being different in this series. The Knicks might not got blown out, but neither are they able to find the kind of rhythm it is going to take to actually get a lead and hold onto it.
Not with the team functioning as it currently is, anyway. The defense, which has been the key to every good thing the Knicks have done this year was a step slow on every rotation (assuming, of course, it was one of the times that the Knicks actually bothered rotating out on a shooter).
That led to big threes from Shane Battier, Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers to blunt Knick runs and the Knicks' generally lackadaisical approach led to more than one easy backdoor dunk. And the defense was still probably better than the offense.
The turnovers were way down from Game One and they did a decent job on the offensive glass -- yet the offense was still as stagnant as it was in the first game. Carmelo Anthony had a hot first quarter and then lost the touch for most of the rest of the night, pretty much taking the offense along with him.
It wasn't so much that Anthony was forcing shots -- although he made more than one bad decision over the course of the evening -- but that his forces still felt like better shots from other people. As we said earlier on Monday, Anthony is the Knicks' best hope for making anything good happen and he had the most life of any player on the court.
Passes out of doubles didn't lead to makes on open looks, making you wonder if the Knicks don't need to try different rotations to get the right groups of people on the court. The ball wasn't moving, the players weren't moving without the ball and it just pretty much looked like everyone was fine with standing around instead of taking the ball to the hoop.
The exception to that was in the second half when the Knicks made a concerted effort to get the ball to Amar'e Stoudemire. There would be a make here and a drawn foul there, but the good results would disappear as quickly as they came.
At least there were good results now and then on offense. On defense and on the glass, Stoudemire was invisible and the Knicks just can't afford to be ineffectual there as they were on Monday night.
It didn't help that Tyson Chandler still didn't look quite like himself and the absence of Iman Shumpert is going to really hurt. And Stoudemire cut his hand punching something after the game -- an action many of us probably contemplated during the game -- and who knows what that might do to further hamper his game. If he doesn't figure out a way to be more productive than he's been in the first two games of this series, this isn't seeing a fifth game.
LeBron James didn't dominate the way he did in Game One, Dwyane Wade kinda drifted along and the Heat still never struggled to find points. Nearly every Knick miscue (including an alarming number of missed free throws) turned into a good play for the Heat and there's not much chance of these Knicks outplaying their opposition when that happens.
The Garden should rock a little bit on Thursday night as the fans try to juice up the Knicks. If it's going to rock more than a little bit, something's gonna have to be much different than it was on Monday night.