Heat-Knicks: First Round Preview?





NEW YORK – The prospect of a high-profile Heat-Knicks first round playoff series seemed to get a little more likely with Miami’s 93-85 victory at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

The Heat are firmly entrenched in second place in the Eastern Conference, three games in the loss column behind the Bulls and five games ahead of the Pacers. The Knicks are back in eighth place with the loss, but hold the tie-breaker over the seventh-place Sixers, who play six of their last seven games on the road.

So maybe we’ll get a matchup reminiscent of the one we saw in the last post-lockout postseason. Back in 1999, thanks to Allan Houston‘s tear drop, the eighth-seeded Knicks knocked off the top-seeded Heat on their way to The Finals.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and maybe Amar’e Stoudemire on the floor together for 4-7 games, with at least two on the big stage of MSG? That would be a blast.

But despite the star-power, a Heat-Knicks series wouldn’t be pretty. In fact the scores might look a lot like those of that ’99 series (average score: 83-79). These are two top-five defensive teams who have struggled offensively of late. Each has a supporting cast that has been unable to step up when defenses have focused on the stars.

Anthony shined on Sunday, scoring 42 points on 27 shots. But he got very little support, with starters Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert and Landry Fields combining to shoot 4-for-18. The Heat weren’t exactly balanced, but they had three threats down the stretch instead of just one. And in combined points in the paint and at the line, they outscored the Knicks 61-48.

“We kind of lived on jump shots,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said afterward, “Offensively, we were so stagnant. When the game is on the line like that, you’ve got to get some movement, and we didn’t do that.”

Sunday’s game, specifically the lack of a third scorer beyond Anthony and J.R. Smith, raises one key question for the Knicks: Do they need Stoudemire back?

Stoudemire, out since March 24 with a bulging disk in his back, is obviously a guy who can hit a shot. But the Knicks just haven’t been very good with him in the lineup this season. It’s been 14 months since New York traded for Anthony and the team’s two stars still haven’t found a way to be doubly-effective when they’re on the floor together. And Anthony has been more potent offensively when he’s been playing the four.

As the Heat try to find the right pair of players to put around Bosh, James and Wade in crunch-time, their lineup questions are nearly as fascinating as New York’s.

No matter how low the scoring is though, there’s no question that a Miami-New York series would be endlessly entertaining.

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

23 Comments

  1. charles newton says:

    Y

  2. DARKR00 says:

    Big Knicks fan, and this is something that all sports should go by is that “Percentages mean nothing”. What it really comes down too is the team and how they click, issue with Knicks is that they have these three pieces (Chandler,Melo & STAT) of the puzzle that don’t fit at this point in time, they need to rotate and ease in the pieces metaphorically speaking. Heat and Bulls have a solid team, but they have the pressure of Winning against numerically worse of placed teams. Be intresting to see this years playoffs regardless

  3. NBAfan says:

    Sorry, but the Knicks are just fodder for either the Bulls or the Heat…just further making it easier for these two teams to reach the finals.

    Carmelo needs to average 40 ppg for the series and shoot 50% to even just compete. Chandler needs to play D like it’s game 7 of the finals to just compete. JR Smith needs to score 20 off the bench just to compete. Amare needs to play Defense and grab rebounds (which he doesn’t do ofen enough for a PF as athletic as him) just to compete.

    The Heat just needs to keep on doing what they’ve been doing. The Bulls as well, but the Knicks have a slightly better chance of winning a game more with the Bulls simply because of “star power”. If Rose is still rusty, and Deng is injured, Carmelo can shine if he plays a perfect game.

  4. bheinteh20 says:

    i’d say the Knicks has a better shot of beating the Bulls than the heat and i’m saying that coz I like the Heat-Knicks match up in the ECF.

  5. the knicks are pretenders miami is a contender

  6. JustMe says:

    This may seem a little crazy, but if Stat is healthy for the playoffs, the Knicks should make him come off the bench. Carmelo and Stat together don’t work well, because they’re both iso players so if one comes off the bench that resolves that issue and Melo can still play a lot at PF. Also having JR smith running pnr with stoudamire with be awesome. I’m not a knicks fan but this would be a great solution. For this year alone obviously.

  7. the knicks fan says:

    i mean *inside or outside* and beat the heats* (not bulls)

    sorry ESL :)

  8. john says:

    Its very nice much up..Heat vs NYK on play off….Very interesting teams……..w/o Lin and Amar they play very well.But im agree that NYK must stay on #8 spot to play Bulls.but what ever happened Heat is ready to play with them…Go Heat

  9. This Miami heat team is the best team in history of nba therefore they must win this year but all depends on diferent factors. No one can say who´s gonna win this year. Anything can happen.

    • kobe says:

      lol….all i can say about that post…jordan bulls magic lakers kobe shaq lakers bird mchale celtics isiah pistons would destroy this heat team

  10. The Knicks Fan says:

    seem like 7 or 8 is the best knicks can do for this season. without lin and stat knicks are pretty much goners. honestly as a knicks fan i will rather take heat over bulls. bulls are more complete team. (even with lin and stats playing i will still take heats over bulls) by the way heats fans what are you smoking??? bulls overrated? if bulls are overrated, then the heats are underachievers, with 2 of the top 5 and 3 of top 10 (according to ur heats fans) still couldn’t catch up to overrated bulls and old spurs.

    anyway about match ups, bulls won’t give any advantage to knicks inside or inside in game but if knicks keep playing good defense and learn a thing or 2 from OKC, knicks can get advantages in inside game, which will gave some chance to beat the bulls. plus history is in knicks’ side, lower seed knicks usually do well Vs higher seed heats.

  11. gabriel says:

    The knicks shouldn’t want bulls or heat… try tl get sixth spot to face Orlando Wich you would want to face more than bulls or heat all you have to do is shut down howard

  12. Law064 says:

    The Bulls will beat the Knicks in 5 games at the most. The fact that the Knicks beat the Bulls without Lin or Amare means nothing. The Bulls have beat Miami twice without Rose but that doesn’t mean anything. NY will not upset Miami or Chicago in the Playoffs. Melo would need to drop 40 plus in every game and the rest of the team would have to step up in order to avoid elimination. If the Knicks meet Mia or the Bulls I say the series will be done in 5 games. @King James the Bulls are overrated? How, please explain they have played without the MVP in 20 plus games and won against good teams.

    • King James says:

      You want me answer your question why the bulls is overrated…. Let the playoffs answer that… I’m not saying that the Bulls is not a good team in fact there are the most complete team in the NBA but what i’m trying to say is Bulls team needs to prove something in the post season before claiming that there are the number 1 team… you will see in the playoffs what i’m trying to say…

  13. jon starks says:

    only chance will be against the bulls

  14. heatfan says:

    go heat! im very sure that heat could handle the knicks, and make it to the finals. no doubt.

  15. Santi says:

    7th or 8th they’re at a big disadvantage…

  16. King James says:

    The Knicks can beat the bulls but not the heat so they better to stay on the 8 spot… Bulls is too overrated…. Their good in defense but the knicks good in offense… FYI the knicks beat the complete bulls team without Stat and Lin on their line up.. If Lin and Stat play on playoffs they have a chance on bulls…

    • HeatWade says:

      saying the Bulls team is overrated is plain stupid. and bragging about a regular season SINGLE GAME win and saying the playoffs will have the same result is pure DUMB.
      FYI playoffs is GOING against THE SAME TEAM for ALMOST EVERY OTHER NIGHT for a 7-game series so a team can focus solely on a single opponent for the following games making them able to adjust to the opponent’s gameplay. now you see the difference?

  17. New york says:

    Im from New york, And all i wanna say is that New york Should do what ever to stay in the 8 spot., Cause i think they have a chance to beat the bulls cause Rose is not 100% percent And if they play with the heat it just to much start power. The bulls are more easy to handle

    • Cmacxx says:

      The Bulls record says otherwise, even when Rose is out.

    • HeatWade says:

      you maybe right but you maybe wrong too (if Boozer won’t disappear in the playoffs) in thinking of beating the Bulls. the Heat may have overwhelming star power but those Bulls are just so good and reliable as a team…

  18. doods says:

    go heat