Thus one of the strangest New York Knick seasons in the history of the franchise is concluded with a solid Miami victory. Consider that the following happened during a turbulent run for the NY squad: Jeremy Lin, coach fired, Melo hurt, Melo trade rumors, Amare punching out a fire extinguisher…simply a ridiculous season for them.
Coming into the series I was worried about a “Game Four” Melo type performance throughout, but in the end the Heat were able to take control through the surprisingly strong play of their bench.
For much of the game the Knicks showed exactly why Carmelo can never be a franchise player – he does not make anyone else better. He can only play one on one and he can only be an effective player when he is scoring. Will he be able to steal some games down the line when he gets as hot as he did against Miami in Game Four? Of course he will, but he may never be a champion. Melo simply does not get it and honestly I do not think it matters to him. Winning for Melo is less important than a good game. In Game Four, he had a great game and leaving the arena with the crowd chanting “Melo” was probably the highlight of his season. Yet it could be argued the Knicks played their best ball of season when Jeremy Lin was leading the team (at least until he ran into Miami’s defense). Going forward what should the Knicks do? They do not look anything like a team, but rather a collection of individual talent – ironically led by the most individual of players.
Miami has some concerns going into their series with Indiana as well: for one thing, LeBron was only partly engaged in the series. When he wanted to he completely took over. When he did not care, Melo walked around him like he was a pylon. Several times, even in Game Five, LeBron would casually stroll upcourt while Wade put on a series of impossible moves. Miami is clearly at their best when the two superstar’s play off each other, which happened with much more frequency in the first three gamers of the series. The players also need to sit Mario Chalmers down and inform him how a fast break works and that he must stop settling for open three’s when they have a clear numbers advantage (“Just take it to the basket Mario!”). Sometimes a three is a good shot but every time he let the ball go I groaned. Poor shot selection has long been a hallmark of Chalmer’s game and against Indiana it could mean the difference between a win or loss.
LeBron must stay aggressive and engaged for the entire series. If he wants the title it is his. If he wants to drift off, he will not raise another banner in the arena.
On to Indiana.