The Heat are indisputably the NBA’s favorite traveling road show, even when they play at home, a moving carnival replete with freak shows and bearded ladies. But they are also a hell of a team on a hell of a run, they’d come off a Christmas trip to L.A. where they’d made the defending champs look like a CYO team. The Knicks aren’t in that class yet.
But they can ponder it. Admire it. Covet it.
“We’re still getting better,” Stoudemire said, and they are. Fast enough where soon enough, coming close will cease to be an acceptable standard. Soon enough.
From New York Magazine:
Now, there are no moral victories — a loss is a loss — and if you ain’t first you’re last, but the Knicks at least took a step in the right direction last night. That they almost managed to erase the damage of that horrid first quarter suggests that maybe — just maybe — they’ve got what it takes to topple a contender or two at some point. With a stop in Orlando up next and games against the Spurs and Lakers on the horizon, there are plenty of topple-tunities (forgive me) to come. They’ve shown that a quarter or two of decent basketball can get them close, but it’ll clearly take a steadier performance to actually steal an upset.
The Palm Beach Post raves about Miami’s defense:
Now that nearly half the 2010-11 has passed, it’s not a leap to say two things:
The Heat’s clear strength, for all of its offensive starpower, is its defense.
And this may turn out to be the best defensive team in the franchise’s history.
Yes, better than any of the stout defensive squads of the late 1990s anchored by Alonzo Mourning, including the 1998-99 team that allowed just 41.1 percent shooting and 84.0 points per game. Yes, much better than the 2005-06 champions, which allowed 44.0 percent and 96.0 points.
Entering Tuesday’s game, the Heat led the league in the three most critical defensive categories: points against (90.8), overall shooting percentage against (42.4 percent) and three-point percentage against (31.1 percent). It had held its previous 15 opponents to 86.7 points, not allowing any to score more than 98.