Sunday, April 15, 2012

Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks Pre-Game News and Notes April 15

Sunday April 15th 1:00 P.M. ET 
Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks 

The Knicks continue their three game home stand Sunday afternoon in a matinee game against the Miami Heat and their big 3. The Knicks are coming off an easy victory over the Washington Wizards, which improved their record to 31-28. The Knicks currently hold a 2 ½ game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks in the playoff race and sit in 7th place holding the tiebreaker over the Philadelphia 76ers. They also sit 3 games behind the Orlando Magic for 6th place in the Eastern Conference and 3 ½ games behind the Boston Celtics for the Atlantic Division crown. 

-Defensive Intensity 

Since Mike Woodson has taken over as the Knicks head coach, the team has gone 13-4 and been a top defensive team. They have been holding opponents to 88.8 points per game, ranking 2nd in the NBA. This is going to be key in the game against the Heat. The Heat sport the 2nd best record in the Eastern Conference, but struggle against some of the top defensive teams in the NBA. This month alone the Heat have lost to the Grizzlies, Bulls, and Celtics twice, teams who all sport top rated defenses. The Knicks are looking to add their names to that list by using the same tactics. 

-Small Ball Match-ups 

With the injuries the Knicks are suffering through, they have been using a smaller lineup with Carmelo Anthony at the Power Forward position with Iman Shumpert moving into the lineup. Some teams can over power the Knicks because of the smaller lineup, but the Heat are actually one team the Knicks match up with well. You could even argue the Knicks hold the edge in the matchups depending on how the Heat play it. 

The Knicks have had a potent offense with Anthony playing the 4. There is no Power Forward in the NBA who can contain Anthony on the offensive end, giving the Knicks a huge edge. You would think the Knicks would have the same problem, but Anthony can hold his own on the defensive end. Also, throwing the ball into the post can throw teams off and change their game plans all together. 

Luckily for the Knicks, the Heat do not have dominant big men to worry about. Instead, the Heat are the ones who will have all the problems to answer. Anthony and Lebron James are expected to be matched up for most of the game with Dwayne Wade and Iman Shumpert squaring off as well. 

Where does this leave the last member of the Heat’s big 3 you ask? They are in a quagmire of sorts with him. Does Erik Spoelstra trust Chris Bosh in handling Tyson Chandler going small against the Knicks, or does he go with a traditional lineup and just hope Bosh can slow down Carmelo Anthony and leave bangers Ronny Turiaf and Joel Anthony to deal with Chandler? It will be an interesting development to keep an eye on. Game pace and tempo will be what dictates the moves being made. 

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