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PreHeat: New York Knicks (18-12) at Miami Heat (23-9)

[caption id="attachment_3662" align="aligncenter" width="407" caption="A frustrated Stoudamire is a jovial Heat"][/caption]

Nice to See You Again

Tonight we witness a quick re-match to the unforgettably forgettable night in Madison Square Garden. Just 11 days ago, in a game to sign off the hype checklist, the Heat easily dispatched the Knicks 113-91 in their dome of flashing lights. It was all that one could hope for, the bittersweet highlight reel of What Could Have Been in the mecca of basketball for NY and a victory to silence the critics for Miami. Celebrities wore their best outfits, the cameras were blinding and Miami flexed their talents holding the Knicks to one of their lowest outputs of the season on a ghastly .393% shooting night. Stoudamire needed 28 shots to acquire his 24 points and Felton was held to 8 points on 3-for-12 shooting. Gallinari shot well, but it was not nearly enough to out-do the balanced Heat attack.

Converse Wars

The hardwood floor once again showcases a war of the converse: The Mike D’Antoni-led Knicks are currently dropping an average of 107.9 PPG on their opponents, leading the NBA and hovering just over their basketball ghost image Phoenix Suns. Erik Spoelstra’s relentlessly defensive Heat lead on the opposite spectrum allowing an average of 90.8 PPG from the opposition - a slight notch better than the Boston Celtics. So far, the NBA standings show defense weighs heavier than offense.

No Fuel in South Beach

America, LeBron runs on antipathy. In the decisive victory over the Knicks, LeBron James exploded for a game high 32 points, adding 11 rebounds and 10 assists to quietly collect his second triple double (now leads the NBA with three after the Lakers game) of the season. Deafening boos and screams are like diesel fuel for the LeBron train and there is no disdain in Miami for him to thirst for. It’s almost an ironic hindrance to a point. Fan up, boo up anybody?

To-Do List

Obviously, Miami should relish in their past defensive accomplishments against the Knicks, rinse and repeat. In their first encounter, Ilgauskas length and help defense from teammates smothered Stoudamire, taming the beast to a pedestrian .393% shooting night and creating 4 useful turnovers. Neutralizing Stat will be once again crucial as well as hindering their acceleration on the break. Relentlessly attacking the weak Knicks defense whilst restricting access to the paint is the obvious blueprint for victory but don’t underestimate D’Antoni’s ability to adjust by promoting movement and space for Stoudamire to attack and Gallinari to let shots fly.
Home Away
Miami New York
Heat Knicks
23-9 Record 18-12
(5th of 30) 110.5 Off Rtg 110.3 (6th of 30)
(2nd of 30) 99.9 Def Rtg 108.9 (22nd of 30)
(24th of 30) 90.7 Pace 96.8 (2nd of 30)
Likely Starters
Carlos Arroyo PG Raymond Felton
Dwyane Wade SG Landry Fields
Lebron James SF Wilson Chandler
Chris Bosh PF Danilo Gallinari
Zydrunas Ilgauskas C Amar’e Stoudamire
James Jones 6th Toney Douglas
Matchup Series 1-0
American Airlines Arena
7:30 PM EST
Sun Sports / 790 AM
Injury Report:
Heat: U. Haslem (out indefinitely)
Knicks: Azubuike (out indefinitely), Curry (out indefinitely)