Do the Knicks have a prayer tonight in the MIA?

Saturday’s 100-67 New York Knicks loss to the Miami Heat was incredibly embarrassing. LeBron James outscored the entire New York starting lineup 32-30 while Carmelo Anthony was completely shut down by the Heat defense. The “star” forward for New York scored just 11 points on 3 for 15 shooting while the team shot just 35.7% from the field overall.

Heading into Game Two, the New York perimeter defense takes a big hit because Iman Shumpert tore his ACL in the second half of Game One and will require six to eight months to recover. The good news is that the Knicks still have their most important defensive player, Tyson Chandler, ready to play. The bad news is that he is still not feeling well because of the flu. While playing through the illness in Game One Chandler went 0 for 3 from the field with zero points, three rebounds and zero blocks in 21 minutes. He somehow managed to turn the ball over seven times.

With Baron Davis suffering from a tight back, the Knicks are looking at major point guard problems. If not Toney Douglass, it looks like it will be Anthony running the point, which could result in really bad things if he can’t shake the Miami defense. I suppose Anthony can’t play much worse offensively than he did in Game One, but it will be even tougher for him to get a decent jump shot if he’s starting from beyond the arc instead of just outside the paint.

Speaking of Anthony, Brad Doolittle from Basketball Prospectus did some great research that confirms what I’ve been saying about Melo ever since the Knicks traded for him. He’s just not a big help to his teammates and he’s a much less efficient player than Lebron James and other legitimate superstars. By analyzing lineup production data, Doolittle was able to conclude the following:

Anthony has generally had a positive effect on his lineup combinations on the offensive end. As you’d expect, the degree to which this is true has been at a lower scale than James. It has ranged from -0.7 percent to 5 percent. Last season was the negative figure and can mostly be traced to his performance before the trade to New York. This season, it’s 3.2 percent, or 3.3 points per 100 possessions. All told, over the past four seasons, Anthony teammates have been about 2.4 points better per 100 possessions alongside him. With James, the effect has been 9.3 points. The difference equates to about 16 wins per season — and that’s just on offense.

We’ve just played one game in the Knicks versus Heat series, but it already feels sort of hopeless. One win can change everything, but it’s hard to imagine how the Knicks will generate enough points to compete. Also, the Knicks must win tonight if they want to avoid tying an embarrassing record. Good luck fellas.

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