|(4th of 30) 111.2
||109.9 (8th of 30)
|(5th of 30) 102.7
||109.4 (21st of 30)
|(19th of 30) 91.3
||96.3 (2nd of 30)
|(9th of 30) 102.3
||106.4 (2nd of 30)
|(6th of 30) 94.4
106.0 (28th of 30)
|Matchup Series 2-1
|American Airlines Arena
|8:00 PM EST
|ESPN / Sun Sports / 790 AM
|Heat: U. Haslem (out indefinitely)
Knicks: K. Azubuike (out indefinitely)
Forget what you knew about the New York Knicks. Miami might have won 2 of the 3 battles between these Eastern Coast beasts, but no residuals of those games can be used to conclude anything in tonight's collision. LeBron James shunned New York last summer to take his talents to South Beach and plan B, or maybe C, has finally brought a pair of stars to Madison Square Garden. Carmelo and Stoudamire, both elite scorers, are now surrounded with the leftovers of what Denver didn't steal. Let's take a look at what is to come:
PG Chauncey Billups -
Sources heard of Billups thinking about landing in the sunny beaches in South Florida if his Nuggets were blown up and he was left as the lonesome casualty. He could've accepted a decent buyout and taken the veteran's minimum to fill the glaring void at the point in Miami. Que sera sera. Now he finds himself under the flashing lights in New York, alongside two fellow All-Stars and coasting to enjoy the ride for the rest of the season. Billups is one of the oldest players in NY (34), second only to Nugget trade companion Anthony Carter (35), and brings his veteran savvy to a squad needing to gel as soon as possible. Miami needs only to keep him out of the post, where he could abuse the smaller Chalmers, and hope tonight is not the time to bring the exiled Big Shot nickname if the game is close.
SG Landry Fields -
Drafting The Veteran Rookie stands out as one of the few positives amid disastrous contracts and subpar draft choices the last couple of years. The 39th overall pick in the 2010 draft is now a starter for one of the most famous basketball teams in the world, and he deserves all of it. Landry is in 25th in the league in3 point % and 16th in FG% thanks to shot selection unlike that of his age and NBA experience, and a deadly stroke that consistently finds the bottom of the net. Amid millionaires, the man gets paid $473K this year. Bang for the Buck. Wade and the Heat would be wise to guard the shot and coax him into rookie mistakes, as difficult as it may be against the young-old man.
SF Carmelo Anthony -
Elite Scorer, enough said. Not to be confused as an efficient scorer, Melo has a swiss army knife full of moves he relies on to get to the basket in isolation. There is no denying Carmelo's abilities to score, but how, when and where tell a story of points without much net gain. Much like this next guy...
PF Amar'e Stoudemire
- What you see is what you get. A relentless drive to put the ball through the hoop unlike any other PF in the league, but not equally ardent on the defensive end. Miami should look to collapse on Stoudemire anytime he enters the paint and allow other players not named Carmelo to beat them. An equal relentless drive AT him could lure him into fouls if he doesn't comfortably get out of the way.
C Ronny Turiaf -
The Defensive One plays a role similar to Joel Anthony's in Miami. The sole player not known for offensive capabilities and relied on as deterrence in the paint and on the boards. It's a lot of responsibility to lay on the big man surrounded by an aging guard, a rookie and two elite scorers who can't bother to use half their abilities to stop the scoring. Like Joel, leaving him to help on Stoudemire/Melo will be a common sighting.
Corey Brewer, the man of all smiles, flights and brought in as part of the Carmelo trade, and Toney Douglas are young fruitful contributors off the bench. Also a youth, Shawne Williams brings fresh legs infused with energy in short, although sometimes inconsistent doses. The rest of the bench warmers include Anthony Carter (nearing retirement), Shelden Williams (not the best baller in his own household), Roger Mason (from Spurs contention to bench flirtations), Renaldo Balkman and Bill Walker (ambiguous skill set).
In an nutshell? Avid scorers, young balls of energy and a drop off in talent after that would be proud to beat a D-League team. The new Knicks are 1-1 post trade with a win over the Bucks and a loss to league-worst Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time this season. In both games they dropped buckets galore as was expected, but allowed over 100 points (115 to Cavs) as was also expected. Miami will have their hands full stopping the Knicks from finding the net but something should tell us if they are successful in keeping them under 100, victory is almost guaranteed. Tonight's game would have held more importance if it was against the previous roster the Heat fell to last time, but instead it faces a team long ways from finding each other. It will surely be an entertaining spectacle full of scoring and star power but don't under-estimate the level of disparity between these teams, which heavily weigh towards the Heat prevailing.