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Heat vs. Knicks: Game 5 Preview

by Photo of Robert Jerzy

Prepare for another round of Knicks/Heat drama.

Heat vs. Knicks: Game 5 Preview

Whether you believe in sport miracles or not, the way the Knicks clawed themselves back into the series versus the Miami Heat bears a certain magical comeback. Who would have thought that New York, being down 0-3 while constantly losing key players over the stretch of this series, would come out in Game 4 and win the sudden death matchup with heart and fight?

The Knicks not only broke their blatant playoff losing streak, they also survived sweeping elimination, heading to Miami for Game 5 tonight. And while drama was the only constant this season, there are definitely some stories and key components to look for tonight.

Can the superstars deliver on the road?

It has been well documented these last days that Melo and Amar’e had their first Garden moment as a tandem. While one game doesn’t necessarily stop the concerns that both players cannot coexist, Game 4 had stretches where both stars carried their team simultaneously. The way head coach Mike Woodson ran diverse plays for Amar’e inside while using Melo’s face-up and isolation game from the perimeter was not only a beauty to the eye of every Knicks fan, it was the reason for the team's success.

Both players need to be aggressive early, putting the pressure on the Heat’s defense both on the inside and outside. Barring a major adjustment in the Heat defense, it is this kind of intensity and creativity that is necessary to lift the ‘Bockers to another victory.

The Point Guard Situation

Maybe you remember the moment(s) where you questioned the justification of Mike Bibby’s existence on this roster. Well, he is the last man standing after Baron Davis’ horrible injury on Sunday while Jeremy Lin is still sidelined. And while Bibby looked catatonic at times this season, he provided some sparks in the playoffs, especially in the last quarter of Game 4. Woodson trusts his skills and experience, so Bibby is the man the rest of the series.

The injury situation around the point guard position could benefit another player too, as Toney Douglas might see some action for the first time in this series. You can only cheer for this young guy, who was caught in all shenanigans the season provided. It would indeed be a fitting story if the forgotten Douglas would help the Knicks win Game 5 tonight.

The Outside Shooting

... also known as the area Steve Novak mastered during the regular season. Sadly enough for every Knicks fan, the Steveness/Novakain has been pretty much shut down by the Heat’s defense, allowing him only 5 attempts from 3-point range the whole series.

Outside shooting is a key ingredient for the Knicks’ success as constant double teams, drawn by STAT and Melo, open up the spots for Novak, Smith, Bibby and even Douglas tonight. If the guards are able to deliver from downtown, the Heat might have a tough time stopping New York. This section is dedicated to J.R. Smith who owes all Knicks fans a good game. Just saying...

Defensive Effort

It is odd to talk about defensive success and Amar’e Stoudemire in the same sentence, but it was indeed STAT who defended well in the last couple of possessions in Game 4. Stoudemire is simply too athletic and talented to let players like Haslem slip past him. He needs to be consistent and make those rotations and defensive stands all game long, not just in the fourth quarter.  And it isn't just Amar'e.  With such a thin roster, everyone has to make a concerted effort to slow down Miami on defense all game long.  With no room for error, there can't be lapses. 

Another key to victory on Sunday was the perimeter defense, allowing Miami’s sharp shooters only 3-19 makes from distance. If the Knicks, as a team, are able to pull off the same kind of effort for 48 minutes, not allowing Miami their fast break game off turnovers, this series might not end tonight.

The victory on Sunday was a collective sigh of relief for the Knicks and their fans. The roller-coaster season, the coaching change, Linsanity, injuries, and all the playoff drama can hopefully continue to disembogue from our collective memories tonight. Some might wonder, with all the adversity and injuries that surrounded the team, that the win was that last punch thrown. Maybe it was. 

But maybe it opened the door for another chapter of classic Knicks drama. 

In the end, wouldn’t that be fitting to this crazy season? 

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see your favorite sports teams live all summer long.

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