Saturday, April 28, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Position Match-Ups: Power Forward

This is the fourth installment in a series of posts breaking down the match-ups between the Knicks and Heat position by position.  The fourth match-up we will take a look at another big time match-up at the power forward position. 

Match-up: Amar’e Stoudemire vs. Chris Bosh

Yet another high profile match-up in this series between the Knicks and Heat.  This will be an interesting confrontation because Stoudemire and Bosh have become second or third options at times, yet have the ability to win games by themselves if need be. 

For Stoudemire to excel in the series, the best opportunity will come in the pick-and-roll situations, if they are even available.  For much of the season, Stoudemire has not been the main screener.  Instead, the Knicks have had Tyson Chandler fill that role.  But against the Heat, Stoudemire is the more dangerous screener because of his ability to knock down a perimeter jump shot. 

If Mike Woodson can draw up some plays for Stoudemire being the main screener it would go a long way for the Knicks.  Woodson has been able to adapt to situations so far since he has become head coach, but doing it in the playoffs is a whole different story.  If Stoudemire is given the opportunities and makes the most of his chances it gives the Knicks an advantage not too many teams have in a jump shooting big man. 

Another positive with Stoudemire is that he seems to have been regaining some of his explosiveness and pop towards the end of the season.  He really looked good before the back injury derailed him for about a month, but even in the last four games of the regular season you could see some of his athleticism returning.  A good example of this was the monstrous dunk he threw down over Tyrus Thomas in the season finale against the Bobcats for an and-one and a lot of ooh’s and aah’s from the crowd.

The place Stoudemire can be exploited is the same place he has been exploited all season, which is on the defensive end.  It should be acknowledged that of the 48 shot attempts that Bosh has taken in the half-court against the Knicks, Stoudemire has guarded him for only one of those attempts.  Chandler has assumed responsibility of guarding Bosh for most of the game, but that has a real possibility of changing.  Bosh plays more around the elbow extended, so having Chandler guard Bosh for extended periods of time could bring the Knicks big man too far away from the basket.

This may cause Woodson to commit Stoudemire to guarding Bosh.  The numbers suggest that this will be a match-up that Bosh will take advantage of.  Bosh has averaged 21 points per 36 minutes that Stoudemire is on the court over the past two seasons.  It should be noted though that the numbers do not go into specifics about how much Stoudemire is actually guarding Bosh.

It Stoudemire is matched up against Bosh another thing he will have to worry about is keeping Bosh off the glass.  That has not been a strength for Stoudemire much of this season, but hopefully with it being playoff time his commitment and attitude will change like the rest of the roster has under Mike Woodson.  Woodson has preached more of a team effort and less selfishness and it is about time Stoudemire bought in more such as Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith has. 

Another match-up and yet another advantage for the Heat.  Stoudemire has been so inconsistent this season that it seems hard for the Knicks to count on him.  His short comings on defense and rebounding this season are causes for concern against Bosh and the Heat.  If Stoudemire can find his old form it would be greatly beneficial for the Knicks, but until then the advantage leans in the Heat favor.

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