Despite losing Kristaps Porzingis just two and a half minutes into the game, the Knicks were able to use their size to dominate the Hassan Whiteside-less Heat on Wednesday by a score of 115-86. The most glaring statistical difference between the two teams was points in the paint where New York outscored Miami 58-32, a 26-point differential. The reason for that discrepancy was the type of shots the Knicks were generating.
Prior to Wednesday's contest, the Knicks were taking 25.8% of their shots from midrange and 30.6% of their shots from the restricted area. Against the Heat, just 19.2% of their shots came from the midrange and a whopping 43.8% of their attempts were within the restricted area, per NBA.com. This is one area where having Enes Kanter back from injury really helps New York. Kanter is among the best in the league finishing in the restricted area. He finished the game 6-of-8 from the restricted area for 12 of his 22 points. He also provided a game-high 14 rebounds and decent rim protection. Here's Kanter using his size and skill to take advantage of Heat rookie Bam Adebayo's pick-and-roll recovery defense:
Probably most indicative of New York's aggressive style of offensive play was their free throw attempt rate, which measures the ratio of free throw attempts to total field goal attempts. Heading into the game, the Knicks ranked 24th in the league in free throw attempt rate at 23.6%. Wednesday night, however, they got to the line for a 35.6% free throw attempt rate, a number that would easily lead the league. They did this by driving the ball significantly more than normal.
Despite playing at around their normal pace, New York drove the ball seven more times than their average. That obviously creates advantages and contact to draw fouls. It also opened up offensive rebounding opportunities for Kanter, who feasted with six offensive boards on the night. Here he is with one of those offensive boards that he turned into a three-point play:
Kanter's aggressiveness and strength were a much-welcome sight for Knicks fans who missed his tenacity around the rim. It should be noted that the Knicks were also unsustainably hot from the mid-range and floater range last night where they shot 71.4% and 64.3% respectively. Those numbers won't hold, but that attack-the-rim mindset hopefully will because New York has the size to be a real problem down low for most modern NBA teams.
Knicks Shot Chart
Heat Shot Chart