When: Friday, January 5 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
TV: Fox Sports Sun
Radio: WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)
Win probability: ESPN predictor gives Miami a 62% chance to win the game.
HEAT: Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk, Hassan Whiteside
KNICKS: Jarrett Jack, Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas, Kristaps Porzingis, Enes Kanter
HEAT: Rodney McGruder (out, tibia surgery), Okaro White (out, foot surgery), Justise Winslow (out, knee strain), Dion Waiters (out, ankle sprain)
KNICKS: Tim Hardaway Jr. (out, leg), Ron Baker (day-to-day, orbital fracture)
Knicks are 3-7, and Miami 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Knicks are 3-13 on the road, while the Heat is 9-9 at home. Miami has won 13 of 22 games against Eastern Conference teams. Knicks have won 9 of their 23 games teams in the East.
Dragic leads the Heat in points per game (16.7) and assists (4.7), Whiteside in rebounds (11.8) and blocks (1.4), Richardson in steals (1.2). Porzingis leads the Knicks in points per game (23.8), Jack in assists (5.9), Kanter in rebounds (10.0), Porzingis in blocks (2.2), Lee in steals (1.4).
Knicks handed the Heat their worst loss of the season, 115-86, back in November. Miami’s starters for that game were Dragic, Waiters, Richardson, Winslow and Bam Adebayo. The Heat’s high scorer was Kelly Olynyk with 18 points off the bench, while Wayne Ellington went 1-7 from downtown. With 3 different starters, and improved look on offense, Miami looks to finally go over the .500 mark at home this season.
Tyler Johnson believes the Heat are motivated to redeem themselves after their poor showing in Madison Square Garden.
“We definitely owe them,” Johnson said. “There’s no way around it. They came in and they whooped us pretty good. They have the tiebreaker now and we saw how important that was last year so we definitely owe them.”
Interesting article in the New York Post writes about Michael Beasley’s time in a Heat uniform.
“When Beasley looks back on his three Miami stints, he partly blames Heat coach Erik Spoelstra for not being a bigger fan of his.
“I feel I could’ve gotten more out of that organization,’’ Beasley told The Post on Wednesday after scoring a team-high 20 points in the 121-103 loss to the Wizards. “I feel Spo’ could’ve believed in me a lot more than he did. It’s in the past. [There’s] no love lost.’”
“Told he went to play for Spoelstra three separate times, Beasley said, ‘I had no choice.”
Porzingis says he feels tired after a back-to-back set, and will face the Heat as the Knicks play their third game in four days.
“I’m tired. I’m so tired right now,” he said after the New York Knicks lost 121-103 to the Washington Wizards. “I have one day now to rest my legs and then get back and play better and have more energy, and also try and bring the team’s energy up.”
“Porzingis had 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting in the loss to the Wizards, with just two points in the second half. He logged 36 minutes two nights in a row, Tuesday against San Antonio and Wednesday in Washington.”
UPDATE: Porzingis claims he intended to mislead the Heat by saying he was tired.
“It was a strategy to make the Miami Heat relax a little bit. ‘Oh, he’s tired.’ That’s why I did it. I feel good today. Don’t tell them.’’
However without Carmelo Anthony as a partner, teams have stepped up their coverage and gotten more physical against Porzingis.
“I believe so,’’ Porzingis said. “I think with all the different things I’ve seen this season from other coaches, with double teams and all that, the coaches are paying a lot of attention to me. And hopefully in their eyes I deserve that spot.”
“With teams playing extra physical against Porzingis, facing double-teams as smaller guys get into his legs, Hornacek has considered a slight change in his usage. The Knicks coach said during games when he gets tired legs, Porzingis needs to remember to put extra push on his jump shot so it doesn’t fall short.”
Rumors have circulated in New York media about signing free agent Trey Burke to add some zest to a sputtering Knick offense.
“The Knicks’ offense is floundering and there’s a desire from some in the organization to call up their G-League star Trey Burke, a source told the Daily News. However, there’s also a big obstacle to such a move — the team would need to create a roster spot.
“Burke, a 25-year-old point guard, signed with the Knicks in October but was immediately released and sent down to the G-League team in Westchester, where he’s averaging 27.3 points and shooting nearly 50 percent.
“For the Knicks, the chances of losing Burke increases if he’s not called up before the G League Showcase, which starts Jan. 10 in Toronto. It is the league’s premier scouting event. Burke, a former lottery pick and teammate of Tim Hardaway Jr. at Michigan, can be scooped by any NBA team.”
The Miami Heat also face crucial personnel decisions with the mid-season’s 41st game only days away. A 30-11 finish to the season isn’t in the cards this year.