Friday, January 27, 2012

Knicks at Heat - Preview

Tonight at 8 PM, the Knicks will venture into Miami to play the Heat for the first time. Though both teams will be short-handed - no Dwyane Wade for the Heat, no Carmelo Anthony for the Knicks - judging by New York's recent play compared to Miami's, the result might not be so pretty.

As I noted earlier today, Melo will sit out this game to try and let his wrist heal. In the meantime, Baron Davis just doesn't have enough "pop" to get on the floor yet. Interesting decision by Anthony to sit out a game that usually means a lot to both teams, especially given his success in head-to-head matches with Lebron James. However, eventually he was going to need time to get back to 100%, so better sooner than later.

With all that said, let's jump for some notes on tonight's game!

Last year, the Knicks and the Heat split the season series 2-2, but both of those Knicks teams were different than they're currently composed. Here are some things I'll be watching:

  • Carmelo Anthony usually thrives against Lebron, but he will not be available. I'm assuming that Bill Walker will get the start for Melo, as he did against the Thunder. From my memory, Walker played good, smart, physical defense against James in a matchup last season, but obviously that was only for small stretches. Renaldo Balkman may get some time too, but at this point, I think people just call Renaldo a good defender because nobody knows how else to describe him. Does D'Antoni dare risk crushing Landry Fields's or Iman Shumpert's confidence by throwing them on James? It's certainly a scary thought when taken into account that this season, Lebron's PER is miles above anyone else in the league.
  • It's no secret that the Melo-Amar'e duet has been questioned, and now with Anthony out, there may be a chance for critics to relaly jump at the Knicks' throats. Amar'e Stoudemire will surely get the ball tonight, and historically, he too has had success against the main opponent he'll face tonight - Chris Bosh. Tonight is Amar'e's chance to go back to his December 2010 dominant type ways, so we'll see how he responds.
  • Okay, so we've established there's no Anthony tonight and that Amar'e will have the ball on many of the offensive possessions. However, who the heck else is going to score?! Fields has been playing well lately, seemingly finding his pre-Melo groove from last season again, but otherwise, nobody else on this team is a real threat. Toney Douglas has been awful, Shumpert is in a slump, and the rest of the team is pretty inconsistent. Tyson Chandler may be the candidate to score a bunch of points considering the advantage  he'll have over Miami's centers.
  • After years of injuries and torment (and millions of dollars), Eddy Curry will get his first real shot against his former team. From various interviews, it seems that Eddy has a fair amount of animosity towards his former team, though that doesn't make much sense. Curry routinely showed up out of shape and got injured during his time with Mike D'Antoni. What other coach would play somebody like that? Anywho, we'll see if Curry tries to make an impression.
Miami Heat Scouting Report

 - Mike Miller's dirty facial hair actually serve as antennaes that send signals to his brain that direct his moves on the basketball court. The hairier Miller's face is, the more dangerous he is on the basketball court.

 - Joel Anthony and Norris Cole are hoping to arrange a name swap, so that the latter can get one of the former's first names, and vice versa.

 - Dexter Pittman has undertaken a role as the team's "Dexter Morgan". They've been trying to run a play where Pittman surrounds the Heat's basket in plastic wrap and sets up a kill table, but thus far it's only resulted in shot clock violations.

Now you're ready for the Heat! Go Knicks!!

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