Knicks 'zzone

Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.

How Knicks adjusted offense vs. Heat

Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni shouts during a game

Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni shouts during a game against the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena. (Dec. 28, 2010) (Credit: Getty Images)

ORLANDO -- Sebastian Pruiti is a precocious basketball analyst (some of us played with Etch-A-Sketch, he, apparently, had a telestrator) with his own website, nbaplaybook.com. He posted a very impressive breakdown, with video, of how Mike D'Antoni adjusted his offense in Tuesday's loss in Miami after the Heat had completely shut down the pick-and-roll in the first half.

D'Antoni's adjustments -- and his players' ability to execute on the fly (which cannot be overlooked) -- allowed the Knicks to battle back from a 22-point first half deficit and make it a one-possession game in the final two minutes of regulation. 

The Knicks also should be credited for a much more concerted effort on defense in the second half. A lot was made of center Zydrunas Ilgauskas' dominant first quarter, when he had 12 points and nine rebounds. But he had just two points and one rebound the rest of the game and, really, played sparingly after that as the Knicks regrouped and changed their gameplan.

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And I don't often link to team websites, but OrlandoMagic.com has an interesting feature about the fact that the Knicks and Magic have never met in the playoffs. The teams have been in the postseason in the same year just six times since the Magic entered the league in 1989 (their first appearance was in 1994).

If things hold as they are in the East, the Knicks (sixth) and Magic (third) would meet for the first time. But there's still a lot of season left to be played.

The year the teams were expected to meet was in 1995, when Orlando, with a young Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway, upset the Bulls in the second round. But the Knicks couldn't get past the Pacers, as Patrick Ewing's finger roll bounced out in that Game 7 at the Garden.

The story also mentions 1999, when the Knicks, as the 8th seed, ran all the way to the Finals while the Magic suffered a first-round upset loss to the 76ers.

Another point to make is that in 1992-93, the Magic could have faced the Knicks in the first round, but the Pacers beat the Heat in the final game of the regular season to tie Orlando with a 41-41 record. Indiana owned the tie-breaker, which sent them to the playoffs.

That's when Donnie Walsh, satisfied with a post-season berth despite losing to the Knicks in the first round, was driving in Indiana when he heard results of the NBA draft lottery for that year. The Magic, with the lowest possible chance, won the damn thing.

Orlando drafted Chris Webber and then traded him to Golden State for Hardaway and three future first rounders.

Tags: NBA , Heat , Mike D'Antoni , Orlando Magic , NBA Playoffs , Shaquille O'Neal , Patrick Ewing , Penny Hardaway

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