Last night Derek Fisher and the New York Knicks couldn’t get much going against the Miami Heat’s stifling defense as their four game win streak was snapped on the road.
The Knicks fell to the Heat 95-78 and couldn’t seem to get into a rhythm after falling behind in the first half. Playing from behind is always disadvantageous, and in terms of getting off to a good start, D-Fish knows it’s imperative if his squad want’s to compete against the best teams in the Eastern Conference like the Miami.
“Our activity level wasn’t high enough to start in that first half and when you’re playing from behind as long as we were, that’s tough to do on the road or anywhere,” Fisher said. “We made it too hard on ourselves tonight. Got to give credit to[Miami] though, they played a good game.”
Carmelo Anthony led the way with 21 points to go with eight rebounds, four assists and four steals in 41 minutes of action. Kristaps Porzingis got off to a slow start but was able to put together one of the better preferences on the team as he finished 20 points, 14 boards and two blocks in 37 minutes.
Porzingis also continued to show his potential from long range as he shot 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. D-Fish says even though Kristaps had a solid stat line, he knows that the talented rookie only cares about the outcome of the game. Fisher also said he likes what he’s seeing when it comes to Porzingis playing with an intense mentality.
“I think he has been showing an aggressive mindset that he’s confident on believes in himself,” Fish said of his rookie. “I thought that’s what we saw tonight but I know as much as anybody he would have wanted to win the game regardless or his stat line.”
Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez were the only other Knicks to reach double-digits in scoring as Afflalo finished with 11 points, three boards and three assists and Lopez scored 12 points and came down with eight rebounds.
The Knicks bench struggled to find its shot last night which forced D-Fish to rely heavily on his starting five. After seeing the game open up towards the end of the first half with the second unit in, Fisher emphasized the importance of a complete team effort and reiterated that a lot of their success this season has come when both units contribute equally.
“We didn’t finish that first quarter well. That is where some separation really started to happen and that takes place during the course of a season. You can’t rely on five guys or just the starters or just the guys off the bench to get it done,” D-fish said. “It requires a team effort and we didn’t have that tonight.”
The New York guards struggled shooting the ball. Afflalo was the only guard in double figures, and he combined with Jose Calderon, Lance Galloway and Jerian Grant to shoot just 7-of-27. Afflalo and Calderon made six of those seven buckets.
The offensive struggles for D-Fish and Co. could be attributed to how well of a defensive team Miami is. When a team makes it difficult on players to score, it requires reorganizing to try and create mismatches, but tonight the Knicks couldn’t find a way to adjust to Miami’s penetration. Fisher said that it’s important for his team to be patient so they can read the defense, but tonight it appeared they were a little too forceful in trying to take the game to Miami after they fell behind early.
“I think they’re a good defensive team. That’s one part of it. They do make it difficult for you to score in terms of being efficient,” Fisher said. “Offensively we weren’t as organized. I thought we were trying to take the game to them instead of really allowing ourselves to read the defense and see what was available.”
Fisher and the Knicks will wrap up their four-game road trip on Wednesday in Orlando to face off against the Magic (6-8) for the first time this year.
Last season the Knicks split the season series against the Magic with each of the games being decided by seven points or less.
Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. EST from Amway Center in Orlando and will be aired on MSG.