2011 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Heat

For your in-post game thoughts.

[Also check out Twitter tonight as Robert Silverman, courtesy of AMEX, meets the Knicks Legends & will be tweeting the whole night!]

Thomas B. here:

The New York Knicks (16-10) host the Miami Heat (19-8).  The Heat enter on a 10 game win streak. Meanwhile the Knicks had their 8 streak snapped by Boston (and the refs) Wednesday in a game that cam down to the final possession.

Most people would expect the Heat to be very strong on offense thanks to a starting line-up that includes three high usage players. Lebron James (30.4 USG-r, 56.5 TS%) , Dwayne Wade (28.9 USG-r, 58.1 TS%) , and Chris Bosh (21.4 USG-r, 55.7 TS%)  provide 23.3, 23.8, and 18.4 points/36 respectively.  But I was surprised to see how strong the Heat are on defense.  The Heat rank 2nd in defensive efficiency (100.4) and 1st in eFG% (46.0). 

    Knicks Offense    
96.4 111.9 52.6 15.6 25.1 26.7
3 4 3 17 20.5 4
    Miami Offense    
90.5 111 51.7 14.4 24.7 29.2
25 6 7 2 22 3
    Knicks Defense    
96.4 110.1 51.1 15.7 27.5 23.7
3 22.5 23 13 22 15
    Miami Defense    
90.5 100.4 46 15.3 24.4 22.5
25 2 1 17 8 10

The Heat’s four factors are quite similar to the Knicks’ previous opponent the Celtics.  Each team does well holding opponents to poor shooting from the floor, while well on offense.  The Heat play a slower pace (90.5, 25th) much like the Celtics (91, 21st). 

Given the similarities between the Celtics and the Heat, the Knicks should be confident that they can play as well against the Heat.  The Knicks have performed well against teams that combine strong defense with slow pace.  Against the Celtics, the Knicks’ pace of 96.4 was right at their average and much higher than what the Celtic prefer to play.   The Knicks also shot well from the floor in that game (eFG% 58.6). The Knicks had similar success against the Hornets who also have a strong defense and slower pace.  As with the Celtics, the Knicks controlled the pace (95.7 ) and shot well from the floor (eFG% 54.8) against the Hornets.

What to watch for 1:  Knicks offensive efficiency.

One of the reasons for the Heat’s success in defensive efficiency and eFG is that they are a strong team on the defensive glass (8th).  This limits chances for second chance baskets for the Knicks.  As the Knicks are a poor offensive rebounding team, they won’t see many second chances so they need to get the best shot they can on each trip down the floor.  One area they may be able to exploit is the Heat interior defense.

What to watch for 2: Heat Interior Defense.

If the Heat have a weakness on defense it is on the interior.  No member of the team that averages more than 20 minutes per game gets even a 1 block per 36 minutes.  Centers Ilgauskas and Dampier average 18.5 and 14.3 minutes per game. Furthermore, neither of them is quick enough to keep up with Amar’e Stoudemire.  As such the plan should be to feed Amar’e inside often.   The Heat have not faced a post play of Stoudemire’s talent level over the last 10 games, so their lack of interior defense has not become an issue.  Perhaps the Knicks can make that an issue tonight.

What to watch for three: Knicks’ reserves.

It is clear that D’Antoni has shortened the rotation. The reserves are down to Douglas, Turiaf, and Williams.  These three need to do a much better job of maintain the offensive flow when they enter the game.  If there was one weak area for the Knicks during the Celtic game, it was the reserve unit.  Every reserve turned in a negative +/- against Boston and Turiaf’s -11 was the worst of the group. Like I’ve said in many other previews, if you are going to play a reserve big man that can’t contribute on offense, why can’t that reserve be the best rebounder of the group–Randolph.

Oh well.  To whomever won the tickets to the game, hope you are wearing your T-shirt and having a great time.

2011 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Celtics

Some good stuff from ESPN Stats And Information:

  • Both teams carry at least 8-game win streaks into this showdown. Over the last 17 NBA seasons, there have been only four such matchups in the NBA.
  • The Celtics have won five of the last six, 13 of the last 15 and 21 of the last 26 meetings. In the Garnett-Pierce-Allen era, the Celtics are 11-2 against the Knicks. In their 11 wins, the Celtics have outscored the Knicks by 12.3 PPG.
  • The Celtics and Knicks are in the same division. The current divisional alignment has been in place since 2004-05, when the Bobcats joined the NBA. In that time, the Celtics have won the division four times. The Knicks have never finished higher than 3rd in the five-team division.
  • Doc Rivers could win his 300th regular-season game with the Celtics. Only three coaches have won 300 games with the Celtics and only three active coaches have won 300 games with their current team.
  • The Celtics are coming off one of their most dominating defensive performances of the season, if not recent history, Saturday against the Bobcats. Charlotte managed only 62 points, shot 33.8 percent and went 1-11 from 3-point range. The 62 points were the second-fewest scored in Bobcats franchise history. Their lowest total was 59 points, last year, also against the Celtics.
  • If Stoudemire is only around 20 points by the time the game turns to the 4th quarter, don’t count his 30-point streak out. Stoudemire has been able to pour in points in the 4th quarter like clockwork. He leads the NBA in 4th-quarter scoring. Nine times this season he’s scored at least 10 points in that quarter alone – no other player has done it more than six times (Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade both have six). And Stoudemire has done it in five straight games.
  • And some more from the Elias Sports Bureau, Inc., courtesy of ESPN.

  • The Celtics and Knicks have played more games against each other than any pair of teams in NBA history. No team has more victories against one NBA opponent than Boston has over its New York rival. The Celtics hold a 270–170 advantage in the all-time series.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire scored at least 30 points in each of his last eight games. It’s the longest single-season streak of consecutive 30-point games for any NBA player since Kobe Bryant scored 30 or more points in each of his last nine games of the regular season in 2006.

    Stoudemire also made at least half of his field-goal attempts in each of his last eight games to match the second-longest streaks of consecutive games with at least 30 points and a field-goal percentage of .500 or higher in NBA history. Shaquille O’Neal did that in 11 straight games for the Lakers in the spring of 2001. Wilt Chamberlain (twice), Michael Jordan (twice), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bob McAdoo are the only other players to fashion eight-game streaks.

  • Stoudemire’s current scoring average is the second-highest for any player over his first 25 games with the Knicks. Dick Barnett averaged 28.7 PPG over his first 25 games with New York after being acquired from the Lakers (in exchange for Bob Boozer) on October 14, 1965.
  • Paul Pierce has missed his last 17 three-point field goal attempts (spanning six games). It matches the longest streak of its kind in the league this season (Eric Gordon missed 17 in a row in November) and it’s the longest of Pierce’s NBA career. Before Pierce’s current streak, he had never missed more than 14 straight three-point attempts. (He missed 14 in a row in April 2003.)
  • Tonight will be Nate Robinson’s 50th regular-season game for the Celtics. Robinson will be only the second player to play 50 games for the Celtics after playing at least 300 games for the Knicks. The other was Willie Naulls (New York: 1956–57 to 1962–63; Boston: 1963–64 to 1965–66).