Tommy Dee, theKnicksBlog.comIn order to be a successful team in this league you have to be able to win in several different ways. Maybe one night you are unconscious from 3 or maybe you win based off of properly executed second chance opportunities. Maybe you attack the basket and win from the foul line. Maybe you shut down the other team defensively.Maybe you just find a way to win when everything else isn’t working based off of pure pride and guts.
Look, I get that the Knicks have to maintain firm goals and the idea of strictly focusing and building their team to beat Miami doesn’t make total sense. There’s still Boston, Philly got Andrew Bynum and of course there are the Nets, but this Knicks team is win-now, and if they are going to win they must get through Miami at some point.
The concept seems overwhelming. Lebron was beyond great mentally last year and the team overcame the loss of Chris Bosh in the playoffs for a stretch yet still maintained championship focus. The Knicks aren’t a championship contender until they get out of the first round of the playoffs.
What I’ve learned from watching sports over the years is never, ever judge a book by its cover until the product is on the floor. The Knicks are a better team than they were last year in several critical aspects of the game that we’ve talked about recently.
In my opinion, after talking to Andrew Smith yesterday on the golf course, literally walking fairways and breaking down everything Knicks (and other things), we concluded that in order to beat Miami you have to play the game in the 80s or 90s. You have to value and grind out every possession offensively and hope that they don’t get out in transition based on your own mistakes. If you can take those easy baskets away then you can play with them and hope to close with one of the game’s best closers. Sort of like this.
There are other teams to factor of course, but the Knicks need to prove that, if they do surge to the top of the Conference, they can compete with Miami. The Knicks can play at a faster pace, especially with Felton, J.R. Smith and Prigioni pushing tempo, but to win the game the Knicks need to value possessions and close them out at the other end. Again, this is where the 15 foot automatic mid range jumper is so critical, as are spot shooting 3s…Something this guy is good at.