While most folks on the East Coast are still digging themselves out of the horrendous blizzard that has me stranded at work, waiting for NJ Transit to get their act together, I turn my thoughts to the Miami Heat and their matchup against the Knicks on Tuesday night in Miami. Let’s just say it’s less torturous to think about the thrashing that the Heat delivered to the Knicks at MSG a few weeks ago then to think about how bad I’d like to curse mother nature, my bosses, and every other person who was able to stay home snuggled up with a hot chocolate and their Christmas booty, but I digress.
The Knicks were bested by the Heat last go around on the strength of LeBron James’ hot shooting and the disappearing act of Danilo Gallinari in the 2nd half after a blistering 1st half. The Heat clearly won this game with defense, slowing Amar’e Stoudemire down , forcing him into tough situations with double and triple teams. STAT, in turn committed turnovers and struggled with his shot. That allowed the Heat to get out and run and when they do that they’re tough to beat.
While STAT and company can compete with the best, they simply can not beat the Heat at their own game . SSOL plays right into the strength of Miami. If the Knicks have any hope of winning they’ll have to hit their shots and find a way to slow the game down. It’s tough to change a player’s game in the 9th inning but if Mike D’Antoni wants to win he’ll heed my advice and convince Raymond Felton to lead the team at a slower pace then they are accustomed to.
I like the fact that the Knicks often force their opponents to adjust their style to try to combat what the Knicks bring to the game. Anytime you can be the aggressor, you have to see that as an advantage, but you also must realize when you’re outmatched in particular areas of the game. To put it bluntly (and to give me an opportunity to use a bad Heat pun) if you play with fire you get burned. The Knicks must slow the game down and be prepared for the Heat overplaying Stoudemire. Landry Fields, Wilson Chandler and Gallinari will have to step up and score if Miami defends the half court game in a similar fashion to the way they handled the Knicks on December 17th. What do you think the Knicks should do to attack the Heat and slow them down on the defensive end? Do you think they have a chance at winning in South Beach?