Game #80: Miami Heat (44-35) vs. New York Knicks (28-51)

Use this post as your Open Game Thread:

Fresh off their first loss in 10 games on Friday night to Detroit, the Heat will now regroup for their final two games of the regular season.  Tonight they will play their 2nd to last road game when they face off against the New York Knickerbockers at Madison Square Garden.  I think it's a pretty cool place to (almost) finish off their road games, especially when you consider the Heat will be playing their last regular season road game in Philly, then their next (up to) four road games in the relatively new buildings in Atlanta or Boston. 

And yea...Miami has been winning a lot of their games over the past 6 weeks, but recently their defense has been having some lapses that has Coach Erik Spoelstra concerned.  In their last two games the Heat have allowed Philly and Detroit to shoot 50.7% and 50.0% from the field respectively.  With that in mind, Spo worked his players hard during Saturday's practice.  Said Spo:

"The last four or five games we've been getting behind.  It's been uneven with our effort. The second unit has been sparking us with energy, athleticism and toughness.  Everybody that plays in the game should embody those three characteristics.  That's what today was about, seeing how far those slippages have come and it culminated last night in a loss."

While the Knicks have been struggling throughout the season, they have won 4 of their last 5 at home.  On the other hand, Miami still has one winning streak going; they have won six straight games away from the AAA.  I'm also going to be looking for Jermaine O'Neal to have his biggest game since returning from injury 2 games ago.

GAME NOTES

  • This is the 3rd and final meeting between the Heat and Knicks, with Miami winning the first two by an average of 14.0 points.  This would be the 1st season sweep for the Heat since their championship season in 2005-06. 
  • In the two games, Dwyane Wade is averaging 28 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.  He is another guy who I expect to have a big night, considering the egg he laid in the 4th quarter against Detroit on Friday. 
  • For the Knicks, David Lee is averaging 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds against the Heat this season. 
  • Miami needs to improve on their turnovers.  They've given the ball away 28 times in their last two games. 
  • While the Knicks have had some success at home, they have lost 6 of 8 overall. 
  • For New York, center Eddie Curry (calf), forwards Wilson Chandler (groin), Al Harrington (shoulder) and Jonathan Bender (hand) are all out. 

Tipoff from MSG is set for 6pm.  Hopefully the Heat will break out of their little mini-slump in a big way against the Knicks.  Let's go Heat!!

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