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Knicks: Bring on the Heat

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

If I were the Knicks, I would be itching to play Miami as the seven seed in this year’s Playoffs.

Knicks: Bring on the Heat

The shortened/condensed NBA regular season comes to a close tonight as teams play their final games before the Playoffs begin on Saturday.  Teams slated in the bottom of the conferences are still jockeying for position, though, and that can only mean one thing: tanking resting the stars.  Both the Knicks and 76ers have identical 35-30 records heading into tonight, and the seventh seed earns a date with the Miami Heat.  The eighth seed gets to play the top-seeded Chicago Bulls.

For the Knicks to gain the eighth seed, they would have to lose to the lowly Bobcats (something they've already done this season) and hope that the 76ers defeat the Detroit Pistons.  The lineups both teams are trotting out tonight are bound to be hilarious, as Seth Rosenthal pointed out over at Posting and Toasting.  The NBA: Where a Dan Gadzuric/Mike Bibby starting lineups in 2012 possibly happens.

Logic says one would want to play the Bulls.  Their star, Derrick Rose, hasn't been 100% healthy since the beginning of the season.  Their defense is tenacious, but aside from Rose they lack a true go-to scorer in the clutch.  The Heat, on the other hand, have that unholy triumvirate or Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh, not to mention terrific perimeter defense and spot-up shooters all around the arc.  Even though they are the two seed, Miami appears to be the tougher opponent.

Early on in this whole process, the fan in me was praying that the Knicks didn't get matched up with the Heat in the first round of the Playoffs.  Now I'm starting to lean the other way.  Why not want the Heat?  Aside from the fear of getting bounced early, I can't really think of many reasons not to want a matchup with Miami.

1) Last I checked, this was America, where no one backs down from a challenge or takes the easy way out.  We're supposed to want a matchup with the best, a true test of our abilities, not lose games so we can face an "easier" opponent.  Did "Team America: World Police" (HIGHLY NSFW LINK) not teach us anything about our collective American spirit?

2) We're going to have to play them anyway.  The road to the Finals runs through Miami this year.  There is no way you'll avoid Miami in the Eastern Conference Playoffs in at least one of the three rounds if you want a shot at the title.  Why not get it out of the way right at the start?

I know most fans would at least like to escape the first round of the playoffs, or at least get a win in the first round.  The Knicks were 0-3 against Miami this season and 1-3 against the Bulls.  New York did beat Chicago once, but one of those losses came to a Bulls team sans-Derrick Rose.  Both teams know how to fluster the Knicks in their own unique way, but Chicago seems to be able to do it in a more gut-wrenching way.  Miami's methods are gut-wrenching for different reasons. 

3) This is a different Knicks team.  Each time the Knicks faced Miami this season, they were facing a different Knicks team.  The first loss occurred during the Toney Douglas era.  Next, Linsanity took on the Heat.  Finally, an Amar'e-less Knicks with Baron Davis at the point and Mike Woodson at the helm faced the Big Three.  

This team has been an unstable mishmash of players and coaches and philosophies all season long.  Now everyone is finally healthy (with the exception of Lin) for the final transformation, if you will.  Stoudemire is back and looking much healthier.  Carmelo Anthony has found his groove offensively, showing it off with 42 points in the last meeting with Miami.  Chandler has been resting the last week to stay fresh for the postseason.  This New York team has been playing with a different kind of fire under Woodson, and that flame will be fully lit come playoff time.

4) If someone's going to beat the Heat, why not the Knicks?  Fans will take collective satisfaction in seeing the Heat get knocked out of the postseason and heap praise onto the team that is able to do it.  Let's send that praise to New York.  The Knicks keeping LeBron and the Heat without a championship for not one, but TWO straight seasons would be absolutely priceless.  After spurning the Knicks to go win championships in South Beach, what better way to show their gratitude than with an embarrassing first round elimination?  How great would it feel, after everything the Knicks endured this season, to knock off the Heat in the Playoffs?  Words can't describe how amazing that would be.

5) I don't want the Knicks to lose to the Bobcats again.  That should be enough of a reason to win tonight and guarantee a matchup with the Heat.

The Knicks have said they don't care what seed they earn, the seven or the eight, but I wish they would have come out and said "We want that seventh seed and we want to take on the Heat."  If the Knicks play at their best, they can beat anybody, including the Heat.  That's what the Playoffs is all about: beating the best teams in the league.  Show some moxie, Knicks.  Act like you want it, and then go get it.  

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see the Knicks in the Playoffs.

Comments (1)
  1. Roy J. Freeman's profile

    Roy J. Freeman

    April 26th, 2012 @19:25

    Yeah, i suspect they are eager to play the heat more than they are letting on.

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