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NBA Playoff Preview: Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks

Apr 27, 2012, 9:20 AM EDT

Knicks' Anthony and Heat's James embrace after their NBA basketball game in New York Reuters

SEASON RECORDS


Miami 46-20 (2 seed)
New York: 36-30 (7 seed)

SEASON SERIES


Miami won the season series 3-0, though the Knicks did hang around for a while in those games. Horseshoes and hand grenades, and all that.

KEY INJURIES

Miami: Mike Miller has an injured “everything you could ever possibly imagine” but is probable for Game 1. Dwyane Wade has dealt with myriad injuries, but again, is available. He most recently suffered a dislocated finger.

New York: Jeremy Lin is out with swelling in his knee for the entire first round.

OFFENSE/DEFENSE RANKINGS (points per 100 possession)

Miami: offense 106.6 (8th); defense 100.2 (4th)
New York: offense 104.4 (17th); defense 101 (5th)

THREE KEY HEAT:

LeBron JamesShocker. The most versatile, best, and most pressured player in the world is the most important. Stunning. James, because of who he has, pretty much has to average a triple-double, defend Carmelo Anthony in crunch time, and hit the game winning shot in a four-game sweep to satisfy people. Then they’ll claim he’s showing off.

Chris Bosh: Bosh has gotten a moderate amount of rest and so rust might be a factor. Bosh needs to stretch the floor to force the Knicks to put Tyson Chandler on him which will bring him away from the paint and open up things for the Heat to attack the rim.

Mike Miller: The Knicks can get hot and hit from deep. To counter that, Miller needs to hit some shots. He’s going to get great looks. He has to knock them down at a high rate.

THREE KEY KNICKS

Tyson Chandler:  Chandler helped the Mavericks shut down the Heat in last yea’s Finals with help defense. The Knicks need more of the same and for him to take a bigger chunk of the offense against Miami, attacking their weak spot at center. Without Chandler having a strong series, the Knicks won’t be able to hang with the onslaught.

J.R. Smith: Smith could honestly swing this series. If he can heat up and stay warm, the Heat defense can’t help on Carmelo Anthony or Amar’e Stoudemire. Do that, and the Heat’s scheme starts to unravel. Smith needs to play the Jason Terry role for the Mavs’ model to beat the Heat.

Steve Novak: Novak’s going to hit shots. But the bigger issue for him is not getting killed on defense. Udonis Haslem has had trouble with his offense at times this season. All Novak has to to do is avoid being a weakpoint the Heat can isolate. If Mike Woodson can afford to keep him on the floor, space opens up and again, that’s the key to hurting Miami’s defense.

OUTLOOK

You want superstars? You get superstars. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith, Steve Nova… just kidding.

The key for New York is getting the Heat into their isolation sets where they struggle, and keeping them out of transition. Baron Davis has to keep the turnovers down, and the Knicks can’t afford stupid plays. Those lead to turnovers which is where the Heat want to play, up and down. New York needs to punish them inside when their defense stretches out to guard their shooters, and hurt them from the perimeter when the defense collapses. New York has the personnel to do it.

Doing it is a whole other matter.

Miami is just so talented and executes at such a high level. It wouldn’t shock me to see this series go seven, but for now, we’ll put faith in the Eastern Conference Champs to lock down a predictable Melo-centric offense.

PREDICTION

Miami wins 4-2.

  1. illcomm - Apr 27, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    U might wanna get the right rankings in there. we talking boutknicks n heat. not spurs n jazz. proofread nimrod.

    • diabloryno - Apr 27, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      Coming from the guy who just completed butchered his own post…

  2. acdc363 - Apr 27, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Titles are gone overrated!

  3. dysraw1 - Apr 27, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Woody and the knicks we dont fear the heat

  4. theanalyst3 - Apr 27, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    They are not the Eastern Conf. champs…

  5. theanalyst3 - Apr 27, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Matt Moore, you are pretty bad…this column is not written well at all…

  6. birdsflynorth206 - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Melo thinks hes a superstar this is the series to show it

  7. canehouse - Apr 27, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Very Excited for the playoffs and thrilled to get the Knicks first… series should be fun to watch and great for the NBA!

    GO HEAT!!!

  8. passerby23 - Apr 27, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Everyone is talking Clippers-Grizzlies as the best first round series, but I think this one is. The Knicks are a dangerous team I would not want to face. In the end, I agree that Miami’s defense is going to be able to stifle the Knicks’ offense in the 4th quarter. They’ll be able to bottle up Melo and make them play isolation offense and force long-range jumpers. That’s the difference in this series. Heat in 6.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 27, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      I don’t see them stopping us any more than we will stop them (our defense is just as good, if not better, with the second unit). With as many as four scorers on the court at a time, the Knicks aren’t going to be as easy to defend as people who rarely watch them THINK.

  9. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 27, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    STOP IT with this “LeBron James is the best player in the world” BS, goodness. You people give me agita with that. No “BEST PLAYER” in ANY sport has the loser mentality that this clown has.

  10. lemfax - Apr 27, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Miami 4-3

  11. dicecoldsr - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    The Knicks have all the potential to stun the world. Let’s make it happen Knicks!

  12. caine115 - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    Heat should win in 6 game. Maybe 5. But the Knicks can be dangerous because they can get physical and were you down. It can get interesting if Bosh continues to suck. he is a key. Lebron is having another amazing year. The best of his career. Another MVP. He is the best player love or hate him. But now is when it matters. He will be fine in the first round. Wade has had some tough games and is a great player but has had some bad games. Bottom line is this series should not be a 7 game nail biter because Bron is that good and Wade is that good. But the Knicks may damage them to make a second round series tough against anyone. And that is something the heat need to watch for as well. game 1 is huge

  13. jemefree - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    Mr wright you’re an idiot to think lebron has a loser mentality. He’s won every bball award but the finals MVP. 17 straight 4th quarter points is the biggest clutch performance this season by far.Get over the Decision unless yur a cavs fan.

  14. vikingsteve84 - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Talk about a one sided opinion! Someone needs to hop off the heat bandwagon.

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