The Heat have been in the top two of the Eastern Conference throughout the regular season, while the Knicks’ season has been a convoluted struggle to even make the playoffs.
The Heat own the likely MVP in small forward LeBron James, while the Knicks’ current small forward is former second-rounder Landry Fields.
While the Heat dominate that individual matchup, the Knicks have every chance to compete with the Heat in a seven-game series.
One of New York’s biggest problems has been their inability to secure defensive rebounds.
In five losses under Mike Woodson, the Knicks have given up an average of over 13 offensive rebounds per game, while being out-rebounded by 47 boards total.
Many Knicks fans were begging to finish in eighth and face a Bulls squad that was believed to be inferior to Miami. Though, the Bulls have a formidable frontcourt led by Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer that would undoubtedly exploit the Knicks' rebounding deficiencies.
Miami’s roster, on the other hand, has two centers by the names of Ronny Turiaf and Eddy Curry. I don’t think either of those names should be too intimidating for Knicks fans…
But, the paint isn't the only area where New York matches up with Miami. Both teams lack a true, consistent point guard through which the offense can be run.
New York guards Baron Davis and Mike Bibby are both way past their prime, while Miami’s Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole have yet to prove themselves as legitimate NBA point guards. Neither team will have a huge advantage when it comes down to the ball handler.
Instead of looking at what both teams don’t have, let’s focus on what they do have.
In the Knicks’ most recent meeting with the Heat, they allowed Miami to pull away in the closing minutes due to the absence of a true second scoring option. Bearing an epic collapse, the Knicks will enter the playoffs with a healthy Amare Stoudemire.
Stoudemire should match up very well with Chris Bosh and will—more importantly—serve as a constant scoring outlet. Whether fans want to believe it or not, the Knicks aren't going to get 25 points a night from Smith and Novak. It’s just not happening.
Stoudemire will be part of a first unit that will include one of the NBA’s best, young perimeter defenders in Iman Shumpert. Shumpert has proved more than capable of limiting the offensive production of superstar Dwyane Wade.
Along with Tyson Chandler, Shumpert will highlight the superior defensive team in this matchup.
Oh yeah, and we haven’t even mentioned Carmelo Anthony.
Melo has been the NBA’s clear best player over the past month or so and shows no signs of slowing down before the playoffs.
Anthony notched a triple double and had one of the best games of his career Tuesday versus Boston, only to come out strong the next night, scoring a whopping 27 points in the first half.
There’s no question that Melo has just as much potential to dominate the series, as the likes of LeBron or D-Wade.
So, while the Heat have the best player on the planet, the Knicks match up very well in every other facet of the game and will be a very, very tough out in the first round.
Nobody wants to go into Madison Square Garden and face this hot Knicks team, I guarantee that.
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