After an exciting win over the Charlotte Bobcats, the New York Knicks turn their attention to the Miami Heat, the team that they beat in their first game this season that has ignited their success thus far.
The Knicks, in my opinion, are coming off of one of their poorest performances on defense against the Hornets, as they allowed 98 points on 47 percent shooting. In the first half, they just looked outmatched to a team that only has 7 wins, but the second half looked a lot sharper, only giving up 45 points. The hustle and effort wasn’t even lacking, it just seemed like the Knicks as a unit were too high up on the perimeter, allowing quick passes and open looks for Charlotte. At times, it looked like some of the Knicks were on a ridiculous sugar rush.
Today’s game is a preview of a likely Eastern Conference Final. The Knicks are going to be hungry to continue their success, and the Heat are looking to rebound after an embarrassing loss they suffered to the Knicks early November. Knicks fans also have to keep in mind that the Knicks are having this much success without two of their top players that in being second-year guard Iman Shumpert, and center Amar’e Stoudemire. With those two in the rotation, it could either put the Knicks in elite status, or disrupt the momentum the Knicks have had thus far.
A couple of observations for tonight’s game.
- - The Heat may still be recovering from their championship hang-over from the off-season. Still sitting at a very good place a top of the Eastern Conference, they are still nowhere near what they were a season ago. Coming off a dismal loss to the Washington Wizards, you can be sure that the Heat are going to come out locked and loaded.
- - The Knicks are gaining confidence every day. With the best record in the Eastern Conference, and Carmelo Anthony on a tear, the Knicks are clicking on all cylinders. Even if Melo doesn’t have the hot-hand, the Knicks continue to find ways to score, and they are playing very good defense. Role players like Pablo Prigioni and Rasheed Wallace are really helping the Knicks out, and when you have bench support combined with good starter playing, nothing could be better.
- - Speaking of Melo, he may be out for tonight. After receiving five stiches after a dive into the Knicks bench after going for a loose ball last night, it looks as if it will be a game-time decision. With that said, that will definitely hurt the Knicks scoring wise. It will also hurt the Knicks defensive wise, as Anthony did a tremendous job defending Dwayne Wade in the November 1st, meeting.
- - The guard play of the Knicks has been incredible. With Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd back from injuries, the Knick back court is back. With excellent ball movement, and timely three’s from the two of them, the Knicks should feel confident about going up against Wade and Mario Chalmers.
- - Containing the Heat front court and rebounding will be key for the Knicks. With outstanding penetrators to the rim in Lebron James and Wade, the Knicks need to take advantage of every opportunity they are given on the boards. Tyson Chandler will be big in this game today. Look for him to have a double-double, with having the rebounds being top-heavy.
It’ll be interesting to see how this shapes up. It will definitely be a good game, and I am looking forward to seeing this preview of the Conference finals. Thursday night basketball, can’t get any better than that.
Where To Watch Online: NY Knicks vs. Miami Heat