The Knicks were ready to play in Game 3 and looked like they were going to take a game and show everyone they could compete with the Miami Heat in the first half. But LeBron James and the Miami Heat would not be denied, blowing the game wide open in the fourth quarter to win 87-70 and take a 3-0 series lead.
Despite an absolutely wicked J.R. Smith windmill dunk on the Heat in the fourth quarter that pulled New York within eight, the Knicks couldn’t sustain enough momentum to counter the offensive onslaught of LeBron James. James scored eight straight points to start the quarter after struggling with his shot and foul trouble in the first half. Carmelo Anthony continued to be the Knicks’ high scorer and best offensive option, but he was once again nowhere near as efficient as LeBron, shooting a poor percentage and requiring 23 shots to put up just 22 points. Tyson Chandler played well in the first half and finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds, but J.R. Smith and Steve Novak struggled to contribute. Aside from LeBron James taking over, Mario Chalmers hit a few 3’s in the fourth to extend the lead and finished with 19 points. For a Knicks team without Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert, a guy like Chalmers can’t score that many points.
The Knicks offense went stagnant in the second half after heading into the locker room with a four point lead. In a game where Chris Bosh didn’t do much and LeBron James actually struggled (for the first three quarters, that is), the Knicks needed to take advantage and build a sizable lead. But they were unable to do so and LeBron and company turned what was a close game into a blowout in a matter of minutes. Melo wasn’t clicking offensively and neither was anyone else as the Knicks were outscored 51-30 in the second half.
In their defense, New York hasn’t been able to develop team chemistry because Melo, Amare and Lin have all been injured at different times and the Knicks are missing two of their best three players for the postseason. But what could have been a very competitive playoff series has turned into quite the disappointment. Melo hasn’t been able to compete with LeBron’s efficiency so far and New York hasn’t come close because of it. Credit Miami for their stellar defense, high-flying transition offense and of course, LeBron James for not giving the Knicks any hope. New York has now lost a league-leading 13 consecutive playoff games. Unless everyone shoots lights out in Game 4 in Madison Square Garden tomorrow, the Knicks will extend that streak to 14 and be swept by the extremely business-like Miami Heat and their MVP LeBron James.