Skip to content

Heat have a plan for Jeremy Lin… and it’s not who you think

Feb 23, 2012, 11:31 AM EDT

New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony looks on against the Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York Reuters

Jeremy Lin vs. Joel Anthony.

That is the matchup that will determine the highly anticipated showdown between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks Thursday night in South Beach.

Not LeBron James or Dwyane Wade — although they will both get their say — but rather Joel Anthony.

Let me explain. (Tom Haberstroh at ESPN pointed the matchup out first.)

The Heat have been on a tear — seven straight wins all by a dozen points or more — because of their aggressive defense. The Knicks offense is predicated on points in transition and a heavy dose of pick-and-roll. Lin thrives in this system because he has crafty skills at getting to the rim and when he turns the corner off the pick he tends to slow down just a little then make good decisions.

Miami’s defensive plan is to blow that up. Not just against the Knicks, but every night. The Heat don’t have the best defense in the league (seventh in points per possession surrendered) but they have the most aggressive. They come at you, pressure you, try to force turnovers so they can get out and run (James and Wade are unstoppable in the open court). They can do that better than any other team because they are loaded with long, strong athletes.

They are not changing that for the Knicks, as Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told ESPN’s Heat Index.

“We’re going to try to bring our game to them, not necessarily to react and adapt to their pick-and-roll game,” Spoelstra said. “We’ll continue to play to our identity and to our style, which is to be disruptive.”

That’s where Joel Anthony comes in. Most of the pick-and-rolls the Knicks ran last night were with Tyson Chandler setting the pick. That’s Anthony’s man, and he is going to show out hard and pressure Lin. They are going to trap him and try to force Lin to make decisions under that pressure. Lin is going to have LeBron or Wade on him at many points, two of the league’s most aggressive defenders. Lin has already had some turnover issues, the Heat want more of those — then to turn those into highlight dunks going the other way.

Lin has handled all the pressure thrown at him so far very well. But this is different. The Heat are not Defensive Pressure 101, this is a graduate level course. Maybe doctorate level.

When teams pressure and trap they leave shooters open — Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and the rest of the Knicks have to knock down outside shots. They have to take the lanes they get to the rim and not miss when LeBron or Wade rotate over fast looking for the block. Steve Novak could have another big game.

The Heat are not unbeatable, but the calm decision making of Lin is going to be put to the test like never before. It doesn’t help that the Knicks played last night and traveled while the Heat had the night off at home and are rested.

Just another hurdle for Lin and the Knicks. But if you don’t think they stand a chance to clear it, you haven’t been watching the last two weeks.

Latest Posts
  1. Cavaliers sign second-round pick Joe Harris

    Jul 23, 2014, 1:00 AM EDT

    Coastal Carolina v Virginia Coastal Carolina v Virginia

    As Cavaliers position themselves for Kevin Love trade, now was the time to sign No. 33 pick

  2. Report: Grizzlies to hire Jeff Bzdelik as assistant coach

    Jul 23, 2014, 12:00 AM EDT

    ACC Basketball Tournament - First Round ACC Basketball Tournament - First Round

    Bzdelik, who most recently coached Wake Forest, previously served as Nuggets head coach

  3. Justin Bieber and Kevin Durant share brunch (photo)

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT

    Justin Bieber Justin Bieber

    Bieber wearing a Nets hat, so you know what that means…

  4. Cavaliers trade with Jazz, gain pieces for Kevin Love deal

    Jul 22, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT

    Kevin Love, Jeremy Evans Kevin Love, Jeremy Evans

    Utah reportedly trades John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy to Cleveland for Carrick Felix, second-round pick and $1 million

  5. Clippers CEO: If Sterling remains owner then Doc Rivers, players, sponsors all ready to bolt

    Jul 22, 2014, 6:53 PM EDT

    Sterling will be removed as Clippers owner one way or another because he is toxic to the organization right now.

  6. Bojan Bogdanovic officially becomes member of Brooklyn Nets. Finally.

    Jul 22, 2014, 6:02 PM EDT

    JSF Nanterre v Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul - Turkish Airlines Euroleague Getty Images

    He’s going to get some of Paul Pierce’s minutes.

  7. Isaiah Austin says NBA has offered him a job once he finishes degree

    Jul 22, 2014, 5:11 PM EDT

    Adam Silver does the classy thing. Again.

  8. Agent spins Evan Turner could have gotten $10 million a year if he’d stayed in Philly. Nope.

    Jul 22, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Indiana Pacers Getty Images

    Evan Turner is now a reclamation project — if he wants to get paid he has to become more efficient.

  9. Report: Cavaliers trying to acquire other players to put in Kevin Love trade

    Jul 22, 2014, 3:38 PM EDT

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    It means the Timberwolves want to send Kevin Martin out in the Love deal, Cavs trying to make that happen.

  10. Report: Cavaliers to sign Andrew Wiggins as early as Wednesday

    Jul 22, 2014, 2:46 PM EDT

    Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Once signed, he can’t be traded for 30 days … to the Timberwolves, for example.

  11. Report: Bulls making push to trade for Kevin Love

    Jul 22, 2014, 2:04 PM EDT

    Kevin Love

    Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler would reportedly be sent to Minnesota.

  12. Report: NBA warned stars against participating in clinics in the Philippines

    Jul 22, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT

    Adam Silver Adam Silver

    Blake Griffin, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Damian Liillard among players who would face fines if they participated in a planned exhibition in Manila.

  13. Wizards will have new alternate uniform for 2014-15 season (PHOTO)

    Jul 22, 2014, 12:27 PM EDT

    Martell Webster; John Wall

    Wizards take a more subtle approach than some of the others we’ve seen.

  14. USA Basketball names 13 NBA players to 2014 Select Team

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:49 AM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

    Rookies Doug McDermott and Marcus Smart make the cut to train with the National Team in Vegas.

  15. Sasha Vujacic has been working out with Blake Griffin, eyes NBA return this season

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:13 AM EDT

    Vujacic_Sasha

    Vujacic is known for his time with the Lakers, and hasn’t played meaningful minutes since 2011.

Featured video

Stephenson goes elsewhere for his future
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Love (4300)
  2. A. Wiggins (3237)
  3. L. James (3228)
  4. E. Bledsoe (3016)
  5. R. Allen (2800)
  1. K. Bryant (2786)
  2. C. Boozer (2784)
  3. L. Stephenson (2718)
  4. D. Rose (2624)
  5. K. Marshall (2326)