In their seven-game home-stand, the Miami Heat have managed a respectable 5-1 record thus far. The Heat will close out the home-stand Monday night against the New York Knicks. And far from the team that won just 17 games last year, the Knicks have rattled off four straight wins and have an 8-6 record. This game could get interesting.
Kristaps Porzingis, the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, has won over ardent Knicks supporters with some impressive play. The 7-foot-3 power forward put together a tremendous game in New York's 107-102 win over the Houston Rockets Saturday -- 24 points, 11 boards and seven blocks. Like Hassan Whiteside, Porzingis has a preternatural way of blocking shots. But he also has range out to the 3-point line. It's good that Miami has a 6-foot-11 smart defender in Chris Bosh to match up with Porzingis. Luol Deng and maybe even Udonis Haslem could take turns defending him, as well.
Of course, Carmelo Anthony always gets up to play the Heat. Justise Wislow will get his turn defending the eight-time All-Star, as will Deng. He will make some tough shots, but Heat players should utilize smart double-teams, cut off driving lanes and make life difficult for Anthony.
Miami will need strong performances from everybody. The Heat managed to overcome a 17-point hole against the Sixers, but better teams like the Knicks would have made that rally much more difficult. It'd be nice to see Goran Dragic win his matchup against Jose Calderon -- finally make some 3-pointers and convert on some of those layups in traffic he's missed this season. Gerald Green may lose his rotation spot if he can't connect from 3. If the Heat get that with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh leading the way and Whiteside turning in another great defensive performance, Miami should quiet those New York transplants who cheer on the Knicks in Miami.