Saturday, April 28, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Pre-Game News and Notes: Game 1

Saturday, April 28, 2012 3:30 P.M. ET
New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat
Game 1 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals 0-0 Series

The NBA Playoffs are finally here.  It has been a crazy season with the lockout condensing the playing schedule and a roller coaster ride for the Knicks but they have gotten to where they wanted to be.  This will be the most intriguing first round match-up because of the history of the Knicks and Heat and also because this is the match-up with the most star power.

The Knicks are riding a wave of confidence into the playoffs, accomplishing many feats even though there were shaky times in the season.  The Heat present a very difficult match-up obviously finishing 46-20 in the regular season.  That does not mean the Heat are perfect though, as taking a closer look you’ll see the Heat have holes just like any other team.  The Knicks could be the perfect team to ruin the Heat’s NBA Final’s expectations.

-Injury News and Notes

The Knicks have a huge question mark going into the first game of the series this afternoon.  Sometime between Thursday and Friday, Tyson Chandler contracted flu-like symptoms.  Mike Woodson has been saying there is a very good chance that Chandler will miss game 1.  The players are saying otherwise, but even with talk that Chandler may miss the game is no good.

Chandler is the heart and soul of the Knicks defense and not having him play would be disastrous.  There is so much that he brings to the game even when he is not actually playing. 

I believe that if Chandler is not seriously injured he will be on the court.  He did not come to New York to sit out playoff games and watch from the bench.  Once the adrenaline kicks in and things get going I would fully expect Chandler to be doing his thing on the court.

In other news, everything seems as it was a few days ago.  Both Baron Davis and Jared Jeffries are not 100%, but will be suiting up.  They will give the Knicks everything they can, even if it is in limited amounts of minutes.  At this point, even a little something is better than nothing because as the playoffs come around, all hands are on deck.

-X-Factor Bosh

The Knicks need to handle Chris Bosh.  They can not let him go off in any of the games if they want a realistic chance of winning this series.  You know what Lebron James and Dwayne Wade are going to give you so stopping Bosh is key.  If the Knicks can keep him from consistently knocking down his 17 foot jump shot it would go a long way. 

It will be a big decision of who guards Bosh for the Knicks.  Stoudemire is a lesser defender than Chandler, but Chandler is needed to be as close to the basket as he can so he can control the boards.  Stoudemire is going to have to step up his game on the boards and on defense for the Knicks to succeed in the series.

-3-Point Shooting

If the Knicks are going to make noise in this series, it will come down to 3 point shooting.  The Heat are one of the worst teams in the NBA at defending the 3 point line and that is something the Knicks can take advantage of.

The Knicks have gunners Steve Novak and J.R. Smith who can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court.  If they are able to get going in any game, they can single handedly change the outcome on 3 point shooting alone. 

The perfect formula for the Knicks would be to work the inside out game.  Look to dominate the paint early and often and then look outside.  If they can get some easy looks at the rim from the start, the perimeter will open up once the Heat have to sag their defense and protect the paint.  Novak, Smith and the rest of the Knicks will then have open looks and will just need to convert.

-Limit Turnovers

The Heat are one of the most athletic teams in the NBA and fully use it their advantage.  Lebron James and Dwayne Wade are always looking to play passing lanes and cause turnovers to get into the open court to start some fireworks on the fast break.  The Knicks have to do their best in limiting those opportunities and lowering their NBA high turnover rate. 

Miami is very dangerous in the open court because of James and Wade.  The Knicks have to make it a point to slow that down as much as possible.

One positive the Knicks have going for them is that they have two postseason proven and experienced point guards in Baron Davis and Mike Bibby.  Both understand playoff basketball and how much different of an atmosphere it is.  Look for them to help keep the younger Knicks composed along with other team leaders Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.  

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