There have been more ideal times for this analysis.
Of course, Miami has made no secret of its difficulty generating enthusiasm to face the league's lesser lights, and the Knicks certainly do not qualify as such, not with their 12-4 record entering Wednesday night, and not after their 104-84 rout of the Heat on Nov. 2.
So, on Thursday, there will be no issues getting energized.
"It will be electrifying in our arena," LeBron James said. "We know that."
Knowing that the Heat will care to compete Thursday, for a TNT audience against a quality opponent (and knowing that the Heat will care even more when the playoffs mercifully come around) what kind of competition will they find across the court in the Knicks?
Is New York a significantly greater obstacle than it was last postseason, when the Heat advanced in five games against a squad that has since added Ray Felton, Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer, Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas?
Or are the Knicks merely a speed bump on the Heat's way to a third straight Eastern Conference title?
Bet on the latter.
Here are five reasons why Mike Woodson's team won't be much trouble when it matters.
(All quotes were compiled during the course of the author's coverage for The Palm Beach Post. All statistics were updated prior to Wednesday's play.)