Thursday, May 3, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Game 3 Pre-Game News and Notes


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Thursday, May 03, 2012 7:00 P.M. ET
Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks
Game 3 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals 2-0 Heat Series Lead

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 -Injury News and Updates

Amar’e Stoudemire is out for Game 3 because of the laceration on his left hand he got when hitting the fire extinguisher after Game 2.  He says he wants to be back for Sunday afternoon’s Game 4, but he is currently listed as doubtful.  One positive he does have going for him though is that the injury is on his left, non-shooting hand.

Jared Jeffries is starting to feel better, as head coach Mike Woodson said that Jeffries minutes can be increased for Game 3.  Before the series started, Woodson had said that Jeffries would be limited to 15 minutes a game, but has played only 11 minutes combined in the first two games.  Jeffries will help add to the Knicks interior defense, something that has been lacking thus far in the series. 

Tyson Chandler is all systems go.  After receiving the Defensive Player of the Year award, Chandler will look to show why he got it tonight at full strength.  He says that he is 100% and fine after suffering through the stomach flu Games 1 and 2.  Look for him to have a dominant performance on both offense and defense with the absence of Stoudemire.

There had been rumblings that Jeremy Lin was going to attempt a comeback for Game 3, but that has been shut down.  His knee did not respond as well after full contact practice earlier in the week, and his return has been pushed back again.  It is now doubtful that he will return for Game 4 as well, meaning that the chance of seeing Jeremy Lin again this season are becoming less and less likely.

The Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh welcomed a baby boy into the world this morning.  He is questionable for Game 3 because he returned to Miami late last night to be with his wife.  The Heat have not yet ruled Bosh out, holding out hope he can return to New York in time for Game 3. 

Mike Woodson will have a lot of decisions to make going into tonight’s game with his starting lineup.  With two starters being out, Woodson will have to change up his lineup for the third time in three games.  There have been whispers that Steve Novak will step into the starting lineup, but he would present tough match-ups on the defensive end for the Knicks as he would struggle to guard Lebron James or Chris Bosh.  In my opinion, the best option would be starting Josh Harrellson.  He provides great defense and rebounding, allowing Chandler to guard the Center instead of Bosh, keeping him closer to the basket where the Knicks need him.

-Bench Production

With the Knicks missing two starters, the bench unit is going to look a little different but they will need to step up nonetheless.  Players will get playing time tonight that hasn’t all series and they have to be prepared for game action.

One player we know will be prepared is J.R. Smith.  He has been the best player for the Knicks thus far in the series.  The Knicks will need him to provide a scoring punch off the bench and help carry the load along with Carmelo Anthony.  Smith has been aggressive on the offensive end and defensive end.  He has taken on whatever Mike Woodson has asked him to do and succeeded.

It would be nice to see Steve Novak get going as well.  The fans at the Garden are going to be going crazy tonight and Novak having a good performance will only increase that.  Every time he touches the ball, there is a little more buzz in the crowd.  If he’s able to get a few shots to fall early, the game could be there for the Knicks taking.

-Carmelo Anthony Slides to the 4

Carmelo Anthony will be moved to the starting Power Forward position tonight with the absence of Amar’e Stoudemire.  This has been a position that Anthony has thrived in throughout the season.  He causes match-up problems for opposing teams because there is no power forward in the NBA that can contain him.  It also helps that Anthony can hold his own on defense against bigger opponents because of his excellent strength and power. 

Having Anthony at the 4 will also bring one of the Heat’s bigs away from the basket.  Anthony does a lot of his work from the perimeter, so bringing the Heat’s big men away from the basket will not only make it easier for Anthony to score, but at the same time open up the lane for easy attempts for his teammates.  

-Attack the Paint

The Knicks have been badly outscored in the paint through the first two games of the series.  This is a trend that must be reversed if the Knicks hope to make some noise and end their 12 game playoff losing streak. 

One reason for this is the lack of Tyson Chandler.  Battling the stomach flu, he has not been himself on either end of the court.  Finally feeling better heading into game 3, expect the gap of scoring in the paint to come closer to the Knicks.  Chandler will add easy points for the Knicks while taking away scoring from the Heat.

Attacking the paint will also result in more trips to the foul line.  The Knicks have not been as aggressive as the Heat (and don’t have the refs helping them out like the Heat), leading to less free throw attempts.  If the Knicks are able to get to the foul line more and slow down the game it will go a long way for them, as they could be battling fatigue with yet another injury decimating their team.  

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