The New York Knicks played the Mike D'Antoni way last night, but that proved to be their downfall in a 99-89 loss to the Miami Heat. The D'Antoni way is simple - continually try to score and score. In this philosophy defense is secondary and the goal is to simply outscore the opponent. Unfortunately for these Knicks, there is a great deal of sound but little fury in this practice, as was evident last night in Miami.
The Knicks (7-12), playing without Carmelo Anthony, were led by a still struggling Amar'e Stoudemire who scored 12 points and looks nothing like the player from last season who seemed to own the court (and to some extent the team itself). That was before he had to share the spotlight with Anthony, and since his arrival Stoudemire has not looked the same and that is one reason the team is faltering.
The other reason is the coach and his approach. He had the team trying to score 3-pointers all over the place last night, but the problem with this offensive strategy is when you miss the basket (making just 18 out of 43 field goals). D'Antoni should have known better, or maybe it didn't matter when you are up against the likes of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade (a combined 59 points).
So perhaps we can blame all this on Anthony being on the bench, or that D'Antoni is probably a lame duck, or the fact that the defense is sorely lacking (even with Tyson Chandler at center). Whatever the case, the Knicks are in what seems to be a downward spiral and there is no end in sight.
In this shortened and condensed season, the Knicks have fought against time and injury. It seemed that Stoudemire was going to need more time off with these back-to-back games, but with Anthony out they need him in there. The trouble is Stoudemire cannot do it all alone, and right now it seems like this team will barely play .500 ball and not make the playoffs.
Oh, and the Nets are just a half game behind them in the standings. If that doesn't shake these guys up, nothing will.