Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East coast from Sunday through Tuesday afternoon, and parts of New York City took the blunt of the damage. Due to many flooded streets and the mass transit system currently not at full force, Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked for the largely anticipated Nets-Knicks game to be postponed. The NBA obliged, and now the Knicks won't be playing until Sunday when they face off at home against the reigning world champion Miami Heat.
The New York Knicks have been under fire the past few years for continually revamping their roster and not making any strides towards a championship. Bringing in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudamire was supposedly the answer to get over the proverbial hump, but so far Melo and Amare haven't meshed like everyone thought they would. Last season they limped into the playoffs, and were shown the door in a first round exit.
The Heat meanwhile are the exact opposite of what the Knicks have embodied over the past two years. LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade had a disappointing end to their season in 2011 against the Mavericks in the finals, but played selfless team basketball last year and won the championship. James seems likely to take home another MVP this season, and Miami is alone at the top in the Eastern Conference. If there was ever a way to start off the season on the right foot for the Knicks, beating the Heat on Sunday would be a start.
The Knicks let Jeremy Lin head elsewhere after last season and instead opted to sign veteran Jason Kidd to backup Raymond Felton. Foul prone Rashard Wallace was brought in over the offseason to compliment Kurt Thomas off the bench which was looked at as a questionable move considering Wallace's background of issues. The only true superstar on the Knicks right now is Carmelo who has always been known to score at will, but can become lackadaisical on defense. With Amare currently sidelined to start the season due to injury, Carmelo will be relied on to be efficient offensively as well as look to distribute to the multiple shooters around him. Having big men Marcus Camby and Tyson Chandler in the paint won't hurt, and both can dominate the boards on any given night.
New Knicks head coach Mike Woodson isn't a stranger to the coaching carousel that the NBA represents, and knows that if he doesn't get the team off to a fast start in November he could very well be shown the door by the new year. Woodson performed well as the interim coach after Mike D'Antoni resigned, and the Knicks brass awarded him with a new contract and a chance to build on last season's playoff appearance. Bringing in Felton, Wallace, J.R. Smith and Ronnie Brewer definitely have given Carmelo and Stoudamire some other talent to work with offensively.
LeBron is no stranger to Madison Square Garden, and definitely looks forward to playing in the Big Apple in prime time to showcase his talent as the best player in the game. Sunday should be no different, and the Heat should likely leave New York on Sunday with a 2-0 start to the season. Bringing in Ray Allen to Miami was one of the smartest moves that Pat Riley has made yet, and it gives LeBron another outside threat besides Mike Miller to dish it to when he penetrates to the lane. Allen performed well against his former team on Tuesday night with 19 points, and will be looked at for offensive production off the bench as the season progresses.
Overall, Sunday night in the Garden should be a great game to watch. The Knicks are playing in one of the toughest divisions in the league this year, and will need to get their season off to a fast start. Falling behind the likes of Boston, Philly and Brooklyn early in the season won't bode well for their postseason chances in the spring. New York will start to learn their identity this fall, but it won't start against the Heat. LeBron & Co. are the hottest team in the NBA right now, and are going to show everyone why they are the defending champions on Sunday evening.