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John Schuhmann

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No matter how you view it, Amar'e Stoudemire and the Knicks haven't delivered on their potential.
Isaac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Off-court antics, stats prove Knicks not at Heat's level


Posted May 1 2012 11:04AM

MIAMI -- For a franchise that hasn't won a playoff game in 11 years and is exactly two games over .500 over the last two seasons, the New York Knicks certainly make a lot of headlines.

The latest came Monday night, when Amar'e Stoudemire lacerated his left hand punching a glass door to a fire extinguisher in the wake of the Knicks' 104-94 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of their first-round series. A true SMH moment.

It was quite a scene at AmericanAirlines Arena. Paramedics were rushed to the Knicks' locker room with a stretcher in tow. When the room was finally opened to the media, there was blood on the floor and Stoudemire was nowhere to be found. Later, he was seen leaving the building with a bandage around his hand and his arm in a sling.

Surely, the Knicks didn't want to go down quietly in this series. But they wanted to make noise by winning a couple of games on the floor, not by making fools of themselves off it.

Stoudemire's status for Games 3 and 4 is unknown. Beyond that, it may not matter. The Knicks are playing a superior team, against whom they're 0-5 this season.

The Heat are the team the Knicks, who followed the top-heavy roster model, want to be. But it's become abundantly clear that they're not nearly on Miami's level.

Like Miami, the Knicks went star-chasing in 2010, eventually landing Stoudemire. And they had a playoff team with him as their centerpiece. But Carmelo Anthony wanted to join the party and Knicks owner James Dolan couldn't resist sacrificing depth for more star power.

And here the Knicks stand, 50-50 since the Anthony trade, two games from getting swept for the second straight season, and set to owe the trio of Anthony, Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler about $60 million per year for the next three seasons.

The absence of Stoudemire for a game or more in this series may not be so devastating. In fact, it may be a good thing. The Knicks have been better both offensively and defensively with Stoudemire on the bench this season and went 14-5 in games he missed.

Knicks efficiency
Stoudemire on/off floor MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
On floor 1,616 95.6 98.2 101.8 -3.5 -69
Off floor 1,668 95.3 104.1 96.2 +7.9 +237
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

Further, Stoudemire has attempted just 16 shots from the field in the two games of this series, with Anthony carrying a much larger load. If Stoudemire isn't an integral part of the offense, he's serving little purpose because he's obviously not on the floor for his D.

On Monday, the Knicks gave the Heat a better game than they did in Game 1. They found some ways to exploit Miami's aggressive defense by moving Anthony around the floor and doing a better job of executing their high pick-and-rolls.

"We were a lot more patient tonight," coach Mike Woodson said. "We weren't rushed and throwing the ball all over the gym like we did the other night."

They got the offense right, but couldn't back it up with any defense. And that's the way it's been for the Knicks over the last two seasons. They've been good on one side or the other, but never both for more than a few games at a time and never truly living up to the hype.

There's been a ton of it surrounding this team since Stoudemire arrived in 2010 and claimed, "The Knicks are back!"

There was Chris Paul's toast at Anthony's wedding and Anthony's arrival last February. There was the addition of Chandler, giving them the defensive presence they needed. There was the world-wide phenomenon known as Linsanity. And there was Mike D'Antoni's resignation and the Woodson-led winning streak that followed.

And through it all, the Knicks have won 78 games and lost 76. They've provided their fans with some fun moments, but no meaningful ones.

At this point, just one win would be meaningful. Since the Knicks last won a postseason game, the Los Angeles Lakers have won 101 and the boring San Antonio Spurs have won 87. Heck, the Toronto Raptors have won 10!

Every team but the Charlotte Bobcats, who joined the league in 2004, have won at least five playoff games since the Knicks, with all their hype and headlines, have won a single one.

Heavy on hype, light on success. The Knicks aren't going to win this series. But in true Knicks fashion, they've at least made it interesting.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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