Game Preview & Thread: Knicks vs. Heat

We all know the Heat and what they bring to the table, but this is the first time this season that the Knicks will play them. Let’s take a quick look at where the Heat are at so far this year.

The Team
Record: 27-8
PTS/G: 104.9 (5th)
Opp PTS/G: 97.9 (7th)
Off Rtg: 111.4 (2nd)
Def Rtg: 104.0 (9th)

The Players

It seems like every year a case can be made for Lebron James having the best season of his career. Considering he has been the undeniable (by sane people) best player in the world for nearly a decade, it is amazing that he just keeps getting better. This year Lebron is scoring with an efficiency that predominately wing players should never come close to. This season he is shooting 41% on 3.4 3PA/36, 64% on 12.4 2PA/36, 75% on 7 FTA/36. This adds up to what would be a career high TS% of 0.67. Lebron James is scoring with Tyson Chandler like efficiency, mostly from the wing, on 16 FGA per game. To put that in perspective, in the history of basketball, of all non-centers who had more than 1000 minutes and at least 10 FGA/game, the only person to have a higher TS% than Lebron has right now was Cedric Maxwell, who was mainly a low post scorer for the ’78-’79 Boston Celtics, when had a 67.6% TS% on 10.1 FGA/Game. If Lebron keeps this up for the entire season, this will go down as maybe the most impressive scoring season in the history of the NBA.

OK, so Lebron is great, what about the other 2 heads of the big 3? Well, Bosh’s numbers this year (per 36min: 19.0 PTS, 7.9 REB, 1.3 BLK, .602 TS%) are nearly identical to last year, so no drop off there. Wade has seen a further drop in free throw rate, from 6.4 FTA/36 last year (8.3 for his career) to 5.1 FTA/36 this season. Other than that, he has been pretty much in line with last season (per 36min: 21.0 PTS, 5.3 REB, 5.3 AST, 2.1 STL .583 TS%), and still logging 33 minutes per game. Tales of his demise are premature.

For the rest of the roster, pretty much all of the old faces are back. Chalmers and Cole are manning the point with at least average production. Ray Allen is still getting 25 minutes per game, and shooting 36% from 3, which is due to improve. In the front court Joel Anthony barely sees the floor anymore, giving way to Andersen, Haslem, Battier and Rashard Lewis. The main difference from last year with the supporting cast has been the glorious return of Michael Beasley. After a disappointing first 5 years and nearly smoking himself out of the NBA, Beasley has actually become a solid contributor at just under 20 minutes a game. In fact, his per minute stats are actually quite sterling: (per 36min) 20.6 PTS, 8.4 REB, 1.3 AST, 1.0 STL, .589 TS%. This turned out, so far, to be a nice low risk signing in the offseason for Miami.

Summary
Miami’s big 3 are still performing at least as well as last year. There have been no major personnel loss with the remaining cast, and they have added unexpected solid production from Michael Beasley. This is still a scary good team, and maybe even a little better than last year. That’s bad news for the rest of the NBA and, most likely, for the Knicks tonight. My prediction for tonight’s game is that JR still gets over 30 minutes, despite Woodson being very very disappointed in him, and unties 3 shoelaces. Oh, and the Knicks lose by 12. The Garden is not the home court advantage it once was.

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249 thoughts to “Game Preview & Thread: Knicks vs. Heat”

  1. The offense is meh but somehow it’s a three point game. Neither halfcourt offense is flowing.

  2. Notice how Miami played the 2-for-1 brilliantly to end the quarter? It’s the little things.

  3. Well, despite that last shot from LeBron (which, yes Bargs sucks, but give James some credit; just a great player making a great play), we’re not getting our ass totally kicked and no sign of JR Smith.

    If I can say that again at the end of this game, I’ll be content.

  4. The melo/ Felton pick and roll with bargs is unstoppable… Over/under 1.5 times they run it for the rest of the game. I’m taking the under.

  5. Whenever Miami feels like it, they will blow this game open. Hopefully they never feel like it.

  6. neither my wife nor my boxer have really respected my desire to watch this game tonight. can someone catch me up? has JR entered? when he was summoned by woody, did he try to untie woodson’s shoe?

  7. Really nice run, led by Amare, who has played some do his best games as a knick against Miami.

  8. woodson is trying to figure out when he should put JR in to provide veteran leadership

  9. Ooh look at this Toure starts the second. Beno hurt or Woody waking up?

    Beno’s hurt. Inflammation in his knee, not serious but he may miss a couple games.

  10. Great steal by Tour’e and a good decision to get the ball to THJ for the open 3. Unfortunately, he missed.

  11. Shumpert got the ball at top of key in isolation. Looked up and saw LBJ. Thought better of it and passed.

    Nicely done.

  12. Actually, I heard that THCJ was the nom de plume of Katie Holmes. She is a big Wages of Wins believer.

  13. the ppast 2 minutes have been my favorite melo stretch as a knicks. takes it at lebron for a dunk. out positions lebron to intercept a pass. tips a lebron lookaway. takes it to the hole and gets fouled by lebron (not called). bully balls lebron for a layup. if we are ever going to be good, he needs to grab his jewels and take on the superstars play for play, not just point for point. that was a glimpse

  14. I think Carmelo is kicking Lebron’s ass, dunking, driving, stealing passes. But for a chasedown tick of a layup it would be all Melo.

  15. Felt like a lot better than 6-16 from Melo….

    I also feel like Miami is toying with us. Wish that last shot had counted….

  16. Yeah, feels like the Knicks are playing well but they are down 5 at the half against a Heat team who clearly got outworked and outhustled in the 1st half. Not a good sign considering what the Heat usually do to teams in the 2nd half and how horrible the Knicks play at home in the 4th quarter.

  17. Kenny Smith on stats, “that’s why stats always don’t say anything, they both have 13 points, but it’s about efficiency and understanding the game….”

    What does that even mean?

    It is about efficiency Kenny, as both you and the stats suggest….

  18. why does barkley feel that Shump falls into a category of players that just want to shoot it?? if that is the case, he must feel very unfulfilled, as he never gets to actually shoot… and why does the media love tyson chandler so much??? i mean, i like him, but i think the myth of tyson is a little overblown

  19. Yeah, that half should have been much closer. We should have the lead really, wasted opp….

  20. mean, i like him, but i think the myth of tyson is a little overblown

    He’s sort of like Achilles, if he’d been dipped in that river by his immune system.

  21. Couldn’t hear the TNT guys at the half b/c of work. Was Barkley trolling us again or did he actually give insightful reasons why he doesn’t like this year’s team?

  22. How do the Heat get a shot and a basket with .7 seconds on the clock and we can’t get a shot off with 7 seconds on the clock? What is this epidemic of meltdowns with the clock winding down? Both ways? when this happens 3 or 4 times a game it can mean a swing of 8-10 points. It is a part of the game that separates the good teams from the bad ones.

    And no Charles, or Kenny or whoever asked, the Knicks will not be running tonight. Or at any time this year.

  23. Was Barkley trolling us again or did he actually give insightful reasons why he doesn’t like this year’s team?

    No role players on the Knicks to complement Anthony, was his main point.

  24. Question: if the Knicks run into foul trouble does Woodson keep Smith on the bench and go with 4 players on the court, a la Norman Dale?

  25. Was Bargs walking AWAY from the play when Lebron crushed that dunk?

    He was taking evasive action.

  26. To go from Kenny’s nonsense to Kerr discussing Lebron’s insane, historic ts% (67%) is quite the transition….

  27. how could lebron even argue that with a straight face. he ran right in to bargs before bargs could even get out of his way and let him dunk

  28. Best thing Barngani could do IMO would be to take it personally and start getting up into LeBron’s mug

  29. i like that foul by melo there. nothing easy. good thing to, because amare was clearly not paying any attention and was going to get dunked on unknowingly

  30. This Bargnani Lebron matchup doesn’t seem to be to our advantage, run overs notwithstanding….

  31. the bargs pump fake was soooo unbeievable on tv, but apparently quite believable in person

  32. Real fun 3rd quarter so far but I just dont see how the Knicks will be able to get enough defensive stops down the stretch to be able to win this game.

  33. shump is leading us in minutes, is +6, and is playing burn in hellfire defense. we dont miss JR at all. note to woodson. we do not miss JR at all

  34. Who ever said Bargs should run PnRs as a ball handler maybe right. I think it should be explored.

  35. This is dated, but this is like an old ABA game.
    The ball should be red, white and blue!

  36. the way to stop lebron at the end of quarters is not to allow him unimpeded route to the front of the rim. just an idea

  37. THJ showing serious hops.

    Carmelo should keep feasting from 3 because Lebron sags into the lane in all penetration.

  38. I’m pretty certain that if someone asked Woodson about why this team never goes for the 2-for-1 opportunities, he’d just reply with “huh?”

  39. Lebron is just so much better than even Durant. His efficiency, the way he runs the team, and his unrivaled power. Geez, wish he was a knick.

  40. Not gonna lie, that Hardaway putback jam got me excited. Still scared shitless of what LeBron is gonna do down the stretch though lol.

  41. Bargs is playing great. He’s gonna get posterized by Lebron, but other than that, he’s been solid

  42. Hearts beating in this one. Feels like a playoff game. Yet I have this nagging feeling that miami and james are just toying with the knicks right now. Please god, give this one to the knicks.

  43. “Our defense was solid in the third quarter”
    That series of slow motion waltzes into the lane resulting in uncontested slams seems to have escaped Woodson’s notice.

  44. i for one am glad that lebron is not a knick. i would hate to have to root for his bitch ass and i def do not want him involved with the first knick championship that i ever witness

  45. toure seems to be a really gifted passer. there is no reason that i can see that he is not an NBA level back up pg at this point

  46. BARGS!!!

    Then a good vibe encouragement from KMart to the Bargs.
    Nice.
    Melo is running the floor really well for a guy that’s coming off a sprain.

    Still can’t believe Tyson is out for a third game with a cold. He’s killing my fantasy team this week.

  47. Does Tour’e shooting motion look like a mix between Blake Griffin’s and Rondo’s? I don’t know it looks funky to me.

  48. Shame there. Bargs just played good one on one …birdman flies in from strong side to get weak side bound.

  49. Win or lose. I am content.

    No JR

    Strong effort from Bargnani in every quarter.

    Melo is dangerous and so is Stat.

  50. the reality is, stat and bargs are bad defenders. however, i never get upset about it as long as they at least pay attention and TRY to play defense. amare has actually tried on defense today for the most part, has paid attnetion for the most part, and hit the defensive boards. same for bargs, except he has paid slightly less attention. if they just gave solid effort every night on defense, we would be so much better at the 4

  51. Melo always embraces the defensive challenge against Lebron and other big name guys. Shame he doesn’t do the same to the other guys most of the time. He can be a very good defender. Only real weakness is getting over screens.

  52. Shump is killing it tonight. Makes the team so much better. I’d be fine with no more JR all season.

  53. Probably a better performance than the San Antonio game, and that was really good, too!

  54. I think the SHump shooting thing is somewhere in between. He was passing up shots and missing those he was taking but they did not run him off many screens. It seems they run him off of screens more and his is confident in his shot so he doesn’t hesitate.

  55. @133. Bargs on Lebron Isos are strangely effective defense so long as you realize that poster dunks are only worth 2 points.

  56. ruru. this is the NBA. i thought you were an insider on this league. play and sets are run for people most of the time. the knicks do nothing to include shump in the offense. its a shame, because when included in the flow, he can contribute. but we know, shumps just another one of those guys holding your hero melo down

  57. shump isn’t really getting plays called for him. He wasn’t taking shots when he lacked confidence shooting. It’s a simple game sometimes. Now he’s hunting and he should be. That’s the guy we saw at the end of last year and the Indy series.

  58. Bargnani is pretty good at trapping pick and roll. Any defensive play in front of him he’s generally pretty good.

  59. can we just do what the suns did to beasley and release JR in a manner that would clear cap space?

  60. wow,that sucked. bargs’ d on lebron is like the bad boxer that great boxers are afraid of, because hes so awkward, you cant read him.

  61. Melo has great hand eye ball awareness. It’s really impressive. That slow mo was awesome.

  62. KJG, we cant have it both ways. we have been begging woodson to phase bargs out in the 4th on this board for weeks. if he was in and we lose, we would all complain (including me). although, he is clearly our lebron stopper now

  63. If the Heat help on the dive man, Melo kills them. If they go under the screen, Felton can make the open jumper. If Felton hits Melo on the wing and the second rotation is late, Melo finds the dive man.

    All of this opens up because Felton is an excellent pnr player. He’s so much better on offense than his stats.

  64. They’ve been building toward this.
    So good not to see JR dribbling away the clock, taking poor shots and makes stupid plays.
    Not only us it horrible to watch, it sucks the life out of the Knicks. And THard does a lot of what JR does.
    Murry has been profound.

    Huge 3 by Anthony!!!

  65. Very exciting to see STAT out there, regardless of how he’s playing. So many wrote him off and yet here he is giving crunch time minutes to this team. My personal Favorite Knick since that 2010 season

  66. I understand the boards feelings. Its just that he was a huge part of this for 3qs… But yes, he is the 1 on 1 stopper for this team clearly… When he has those happy feet with perimeter D, he frightens the offensive player for sure ..

  67. The high double pnr has basically been an unstoppable play for the Knicks. Never understood why the guy who designed it fails to stick with it. They have tonight, and the Heat have no answers.

  68. yeah, have to admit Ray has been really good tonight. Easily his best game this year.

    Agreed

  69. i know that i will be pissed at him again soon (or he will get hurt), but amare seems to have found a role. he has been really hitting the defensive boards, and if he has a guy who he can beat (he can beat birdman like a drum down low), then he goes at him. but the key is at least trying on defense and hitting those boards. im happy for him and hope he continues to embrace this role (the antonio mcdyess with the pistons role)

  70. THJ is the player Smith used to be, and that’s pretty good.

    Bargs has extremely low awareness in most help situations, but his lateral movement is good for a 7-footer, and we know how well he defends the post.

  71. Very exciting to see STAT out there, regardless of how he’s playing. So many wrote him off and yet here he is giving crunch time minutes to this team. My personal Favorite Knick since that 2010 season

    Me 2

  72. 42 min for Shump, 12, 9, and 3. No turnovers. +14. so much better when he gets JR’s minutes.

  73. Another ass kicking. Is it possible the Knicks just have the Heats number? At any rate it will be excrutiating to hear the talking heads on TNT and the commute try to explain it away.

  74. So Melo didn’t know the Knicks were playing Miami but Knows the knicks will play Philly. He must of read the comments earlier and stepped up his focus. lol.

  75. When Chandler comes back, and with Murry part of the rotation, the Knicks have the personnel to run Woodson’s switching defense.

    Amar’e has to be covered up, Felton is a liability, but everyone else is at least passable on the ball. The problem isn’t the switching, it’s the unnecessary double-teams after the switch.

  76. I must say I enjoy a Back pf the jersey hanging out full court pressing many really great passing Melo

  77. I know its heresy to say this, but there are a LOT of winnable games left this month. Pretty much every one besides the game in Indiana. This might actually be turning around…

    I’m sure I just jinxed it though.

  78. Good coaching.

    Use Bargnani to do the things he does well.

    Keep JR on the bench until he comes around or goes AWOL.

    Let Shumpert be Shumpert.

    Melo as weak side 3 off of the PnR is lethal.

    Defensive intensity.

    Murry played so much better tonight than against Detroit.

    THJ (as Ruruland said) is who JR was – but with NBA pedigree.

    Amare was very good at the front of the rim.

    Would have been content win or lose.

    Really happy with the win.

  79. The problem isn’t the switching, it’s the unnecessary double-teams after the switch.

    Good point

  80. i believe its both the switching and the double teaming. quicker, active defenders like shump, TH2, and toure should be able to get through screens anyways though. i really hope toure continues to play even when beno and prigs get back. i think hes better than beno now, and can provide things that prigs doesnt. plus, with JR planted on the pine, it should allow for some 2 pg sets

  81. A true team effort, all 8 players contributed to the win. And it really is not a coincidence that JR didn’t play, he’s just a huge negative whenever he’s on the court. Keep his ass on the bench please.

  82. to be fair, Kenny is actually a Knicks fan and plays the foil to Barkley.

    This. Kenny is usually the Knick supporter between the two. Also, Barkley usually does make good points though. Prior to everyone feeling goof and happy with this win, he didn’t say anything else that most of us haven’t thought for most of this season. His assessment of Shump was off, but other than that you can’t really argue with the guy when he says we’ve been a bad team all season and that a few wins doesn’t mean anything yet.

  83. Is it weird to think Bargs is a better option at Center against some teams on both ends. Teams like Houston, Miami, OKC and Indy I think Bargs can do his thing. I would like to see Tyson matched up on West though. Idk, it just seems Bargs plays better with Martin than with Tyson against some teams. Is it the passing and a better understanding of spacing by Martin(I notice this last year too)?

    I could be on a win high.

  84. I’m a little stunned.
    Kind of conditioned to wait for the other shoe to drop.
    But as much as I believe JR should never play, Woodson is soft on JR. HE’s going back to him.
    Woodson doesn’t like playing rookies if he can avoid it…

  85. Yeah, one of the things I tried to explain to people when the Knicks were courting Martin was how smart he is on both ends and how well he passes around the elbow area.

    I don’t think he likes Bargnani at all but you can tell helping him out in the screen game. The Knicks run some of their offense through Martin at the elbow because he’s a good passer and teams back off of him.

  86. Whoever does the wrap-up has to comment on Melo’s passing tonight. He had five assists and at least two other great passes to Amar’e that led to fouls or easy missed shots.

  87. TH2 isn’t who JR used to be. He’s who ya’ll thought Bargs would be. He’s Novak who can finish above the rim.

  88. One thing we need to work on is transition decision-making. Seems like every game we come up empty several times on steals leading to 2 on 1 or 3 on 2 opportunities.

  89. I realize that I’m stating the obvious, but this has been a pretty impressive 5 game stretch by our Knicks. Maybe this isn’t going to be a lost season after all.

  90. J.R. Smith was asked if he believes his future is w/the #Knicks: “Honestly, I don’t even know at this point. At one point I was for sure.”

  91. Having a healthy Felton makes a big difference. After the first couple of minutes he did a great job of keeping the offense moving- when they fronted Melo he didn’t spend 10 seconds trying to enter the ball to him, he just looked to get per action happening with either Stat or Bargnani which kept the offense from bogging down. That (and his ability to drive and kick) makes the game a lot easier for Melo- less time spent wrestling for position and more spot up opportunities.
    Also, nice to see JR smiling at the end of the game- he sulked early but seemed genuinely happy about the win. He’s a total knucklehead but I don’t think he’s a bad teammate- everyone seems to really like the guy.

  92. What a roller coaster season. I was sure this was a lost season, but this resurrection has lifted my spirit. I hunger for meaningful basketball. The knicks have showed they can rewrite their narrative, that they can control their destiny. I’m starting to believe again. Please don’t rip my heart out again. Lets go Knicks!!!!

  93. While I approve of the JR decision, I think it is pretty weird that JR wasn’t ever told he wouldn’t play. That seems rather odd.

  94. As much as I think Felton should be 2nd or 3rd on the PG depth chart, you can probably call him the 3rd most important player on the Knicks. I read somewhere Felton+Melo+Chandler had only played 100+ minutes together as opposed to 600+ around this same time last year. That’s big, man.

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