If Ron Burgundy was broadcasting Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals set between Miami and New York, he might have said "Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast."
The Knicks will try to rebound from an embarrassing performance when they hit the hardwood for Game 2, set for Monday on the shores of Biscayne Bay.
Still searching for his first NBA championship, LeBron James opened the 2012 playoffs by scoring 32 points on just 14 shots as the Heat dominated New York, 100-67, in Game 1 on Saturday.
"It was an efficient game for myself," James understated. "It's about always putting pressure on the defense."
James made 10 of his 14 field goal attempts and 11-of-14 free throws, Dwyane Wade scored 19 points and Mario Chalmers contributed 11 for the Heat, who won their fourth straight over New York to take the early advantage in the best- of-seven series.
"Our guys had a noticeable look in their eyes the past 24 hours... We wanted to get back to the basics and play to our identity," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
J.R. Smith led the way with 17 points off the bench for the Knicks, who committed 27 turnovers and 26 fouls. Carmelo Anthony scored just 11 points and added 10 rebounds, shooting a dismal 3-of-15 from the floor.
"Our strategy and system [for defending Anthony] worked for Game 1," James noted.
The drubbing was the largest in the opener of a playoff series since Orlando trounced Atlanta 114-71 in Game 1 of the East semifinals on May 4, 2010 when Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson was at the helm of the Hawks.
To make matters worse for New York, guard Iman Shumpert's left knee buckled in the third quarter and the Knicks announced later Saturday that the rookie defensive stalwart had torn his ACL and lateral meniscus, ending his season.
"It's a big blow," Woodson said. "But, that's the whole beauty about having a pretty solid basketball team. Someone else has to step up now."
Anthony also remained optimistic as he looked forward to Game 2.
"They made adjustments, now it's time for us to make ours."
New York did get a bit of good news when injured point guard Jeremy Lin was able to begin one-on-one drills before the game on Saturday. Woodson has repeatedly said that Lin, who is rehabbing from left knee surgery, is out for the entire first-round.
The Knicks have not officially changed that prognosis but it is now becoming more and more conceivable that Lin could play in this series if it's extended to six or seven games.
As for James, he is feeling some soreness in his neck after a collision with Knicks big man Tyson Chandler in Game 1. Chandler, who played despite flu-like symptoms, received a flagrant foul after knocking down LeBron setting a pick. James will play Monday but Chandler did not practice Sunday as he continued to deal with his illness.
The Knicks and Heat were once the game's biggest rivalry back in the late 1990s thanks to Pat Riley. Riley, the current Heat president, was the coach in New York from 1991-95 and took the Knicks to the '94 NBA Finals. He resigned from New York via fax to move on to South Florida, creating quite a bit of acrimony with the New York faithful.
In '97, Riley's Heat defeated his old team in a physical seven-game series advancing to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in franchise history. However, the '98, '99 lockout-shortened, and 2000 playoffs would be disappointments for Miami as they lost to the arch-rival Knicks; the first two in the opening round and the latter in the second round.
Game 3 of this best-of-seven series is set for Thursday in Madison Square Garden.