Was it the "PF" by his name on the official starting lineup and the expanded job description that went with it? Whatever the case, James struggled and dragged the entire Heat offense down with him. Listless isos, sloppy drives and lazy step-back jumpers marred his game, and he clearly had the yips down on the block, even against smaller defenders like Raymond Felton.
How long until those Oakleys catch fire as the accessory of choice for perimeter slashers? If Wade continues to put up numbers like these, expect a roll-out at the All-Star Game. Wade saw the basket with laser vision, hitting 13 consecutive shots at one point. Unfortunately for the Heat, things got blurry for Wade down the stretch as he missed a slew of shots.
Bosh didn't make the trip to New York, sparing himself frostbite if nothing else. In Bosh's absence, the Heat opted to go small against Mike D'Antoni's less conventional lineups. The Heat looked out of sorts in the half court and could have used Bosh's ability to facilitate the offense from his spot in the high post.
Although Erik Spoelstra suggested this week that the Heat would return to their regular package of sets, their offense appeared sluggish and disjointed. With the floor spaced with perimeter shooters, the ball should have popped -- at least in theory. Instead, neither the Heat nor the ball moved with purpose. Only Wade and James Jones made quality use of half-court possessions.
The Knicks should be heartened by their steadier defense. They effectively loaded up on James and established strong base defense against the Heat's rigor mortis offense. The Knicks demonstrated patience when the game slowed in the fourth quarter. They moved the ball around and eventually found a decent opportunity to draw contact or to launch from long range.