NEW YORK — Chris Bosh is expected to be back in New York for Game 3 of the Miami Heat’s first round series with the New York Knicks (7 p.m. ET, TNT) at Madison Square Garden.
That doesn’t help the Knicks, who are down three starters.
Jeremy Lin is recovering from knee surgery and might be able to play in Game 4 on Sunday at the earliest. Iman Shumpert tore his ACL in Game 1 and is likely out through the start of next season. And Amar’e Stoudemire cut his hand on a fire extinguisher door after Game 2, taking himself out of Game 3 and maybe longer.
The Knicks still have 12 healthy bodies, but only seven that have played more than 20 minutes in the series thus far. So a player or two is going to have a bigger role tonight and coach Mike Woodson is going to have to go with a brand new starting lineup.
The Knicks have used 430 different lineups this season, but 344 of the 430 have included Lin, Shumpert, Stoudemire or Renaldo Balkman (who was waived in February). And the most-used lineup made up of five healthy Knicks — Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony, Josh Harrelson and Tyson Chandler — has played just 34 minutes together.
Of course, Douglas (zero) and Harrelson (nine) have combined to play just nine minutes in the first two games against the Heat. So don’t expect to see any of the above lineup on Thursday.
Woodson said Wednesday that he will start Anthony at power forward, with Chandler at center, and Baron Davis and Fields in the backcourt. Thursday, at shootaround, Woodson said he’s still deciding between starting Steve Novak or J.R. Smith at small forward.
Davis, Fields, Anthony and Chandler have played 207 minutes together, and they’ve had good results. But 168 of those minutes have been played with Shumpert. And only 17 have come with either Novak or Smith…
Knicks’ efficiency with Davis, Fields, Anthony and Chandler on the floor
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions
We’re looking at really small sample sizes here, so you might as well throw those numbers out.
With Stoudemire and Lin out, we know the Knicks’ offense will be run through Anthony. So here’s a look at how the Knicks have played with Anthony and either Novak or Smith on the floor…
Knicks’ efficiency with Anthony and Smith or Novak
|Anthony & Smith||521||93.4||104.5||106.6||-2.1||-19|
|Anthony & Novak||306||94.2||102.5||108.3||-5.7||+1|
The Anthony/Novak numbers are a little strange, because they’ve been on the floor together for a lot more offensive possessions (617 by the formula’s estimate) than defensive possessions (584). If you ignore the +/- and just look at the efficiency stats, it appears that the Knicks have been better with the Anthony/Smith combo.
Now, with the way Fields has played of late, we may see a lot of Anthony, Novak and Smith all on the floor together. That trio is a plus-1 in 210 minutes together, again with a big difference between the number of offensive and defensive possessions. They’ve been decent offensively, scoring 103.9 points per 100 possessions, but pretty awful defensively, allowing 109.5.