Monday, April 30, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Pre-Game News and Notes: Game 2

Monday, April 30 2012 7:00 P.M. ET
New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat
Game 2 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals 1-0 Series

The Knicks look to bounce back after a putrid performance in Game 1 against the Miami Heat. The Knicks had one of their worst performances in their franchise's playoff history, tying the least amount of points scored and turnovers in a game. The Knicks have to adjust to the Heat's different defensive strategy they have thrown at them if they want to make this into a series.

-Injury News and Notes

The Knicks suffered a big loss with Iman Shumpert going down with a torn left ACL and lateral meniscus Saturday afternoon. He will be out for the remainder of the series and will be a part of a 6-8 month rehab process.

The news remains the same for Jared Jeffries, who is battling a sore knee. It was reported that he was in a lot of pain after playing only seven minutes Saturday. He practiced Sunday and will give the Knicks whatever he can. Expect him to be limited again though and to be on a strict minutes limit again.

Starters Baron Davis and Tyson Chandler both came out of Game 1 worse than they entered. Mike Woodson says it will be a miracle for Chandler to suit up against the Heat tonight and that Davis is a true game-time decision. Chandler is still battling a case of the stomach flu. Davis has been battling a number of nagging injuries all season and you can add a back injury to that now as well.

*Update: Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis will both in fact be in the lineup tonight starting for the Knicks. Landry Fields will join them in the starting five, replacing Iman Shumpert, along with Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. Woodson said he decided to start Fields over J.R. Smith at the shooting guard position because he wanted to keep Smith's scoring with the second unit off the bench.

-Bring Defensive Intensity

In Game 1, the Knicks did not present much of a challenge for the Heat a reason for that was their lack of intensity on the defensive end of the court. The Heat were able to get into the heart of the Knicks defense and attack the paint causing high amounts of fouls on the Knicks players. The referees had a hand in the problems making a number of questionable calls, but the Knicks have to not let the officials get in their heads and just keep playing their game.

One area they need to improve on is pressuring Lebron James. They allowed him easy access to the paint, allowing for easy lay-ups and a ton of free throw attempts. The Knicks need to focus more on keeping James on the perimeter and forcing him into taking contested jump shots. The Knicks best chance to winning is making the Heat a perimeter orientated team. The Heat are strongest in the open court and attacking the basket, so slowing the pace and forcing jump shots is the Knicks best defensive strategy.

-Reverse the Roles

The Knicks were dominated in Game 1 and one place it stuck out like a sore thumb was the foul line. The Heat attempted 22 more free throws than the Knicks. Some of that can be credited to the Heat being the more aggressive team but a lot of credit should be given to the referees for giving the Heat so many chances. If you haven’t read it yet, the officiating was abysmal in Game 1.

The Knicks need to come out as the aggressor this time around and set the tone for the game. Carmelo Anthony struggled to start off last game, so getting him going from the beginning would be a huge boost. Stoudemire getting involved would be beneficial as well as he was a non-factor Saturday.

-Second Chance Opportunities

The Knicks have two areas they need to take advantage of against the Heat. The first is 3 point shooting. The Heat are vulnerable to teams that can knock down perimeter shots because of the emphasis they place on the wings and athleticism. That leads into the other area the Knicks need to dominate, which is on the glass.

The Knicks have to take advantage of a smaller Heat front-court. The Knicks need to work the offensive glass and rack up second chance points to slow the Heat down. On the other hand, they need to limit the Heat's second chance points. The Knicks will have trouble keeping up with the Heat because of how athletic they are, so slowing the pace down will be the best option for the Knicks. Making it as much of a half-court, drag it out, beat-em up game as possible is the best option for the Knicks. If they are able to come out as the more aggressive team, beating up the Heat down low, the tone of this series can turn in their favor very quickly.

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