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Friday, April 27th, 2012 at 12:08 pm  |  92 responses

Heat-Knicks Series Preview

Don’t expect the Knicks to get run over.

by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad

Somewhere, David Stern has a shit-eating grin on his face.

Less than six months removed from a PR nightmare that nearly saw the NBA lose the regular season in its entirety, the rigorous regular season left behind a whirlwind of stories, injuries and memorable performances. I won’t sit here and bore you with a season recap since you will surely be bombarded with those types of pieces over the next 24 hours, but I will say this—David Stern’s legacy should (and most likely will) be tarnished.

With one day of rest between the regular season and the Playoffs, players will be limping into the “real” season. Despite all the injuries, elbows, tanking and teams relocating, Stern still got exactly what he wanted: a first-round matchup between the Knicks and Heat. It’s a series that will surely trump every other story surrounding the NBA at the moment and provide great theater over the next few weeks.

Not only do the two teams have a well-documented, violent history with each other, the series will feature: Four of the biggest and most marketable stars playing in the NBA; the potential MVP; the potential Defensive Player of the Year; three guys with rings; and arguably the hottest player in the game right now. Both teams have had been under a microscope all season and the drama is bound to intensify.

Is this the year LeBron wins that elusive ring? Who takes the shots in crunch time for Miami? Can Melo continue to carry the team on his back? Are the Knicks finally living up to the pre-season hype?

As a fan, you really can’t ask for more.

And that’s exactly what David Stern wants.

Let’s get to the matchups:

Point Guard: Mario Chalmers (9.8 ppg / 2.7 rpg / 3.5 apg) vs Baron Davis (6.1/1.9/4.7)

Remember Jeremy Lin? It almost seems like the whole thing never even happened. Now the Knicks roll into the Playoffs with a point guard rotation of Davis/Mike Bibby/Toney Douglas/Iman Shumpert—a crop that won’t be keeping the Heat up at night. While Davis has been playing at least a little bit better as of late, he’s not healthy and has been a walking turnover for New York. The Knicks can’t afford to turn the ball over since the Heat thrive in the open court and will need at least average play from the point to have a shot. For Miami, Mario Chalmers is a guy who can provide a spark plus he’s a confident player who has a track record of hitting big shots (‘08 NCAA Championship, anybody?) and as long as he plays within himself he’ll remain on the court. If all else fails Miami can just slide LeBron over to the 1 where he has the ability to take over a game.

Advantage: Miami

Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade (22.1/4.8/4.6) vs Iman Shumpert (9.5/3.2/2.8)

Dwyane Wade has been bothered by a litany of injuries—which caused him to sit for 17 games this season—and is hurting coming into the series thanks to a dislocated finger he suffered last week. Of course, Wade won’t let the injury hold him back, and he will be out competing in full force. But Shumpert can match him both physically and athletically and may cause problems on the defensive end. While Landry Fields will most likely get the start, Shumpert will probably see a majority of the minutes due to his defensive prowess and ability to match-up with Wade. But, this is also the rook’s first time in the Playoffs, while Wade is a vet with Championship experience and still has the ability to take over a game. Shump will win a few battles throughout the series, but DWade will ultimately win the war.

Advantage: Miami

Small Forward: LeBron James (27.1/7.9/6.2) vs Carmelo Anthony (22.6/6.3/3.6)

Getting the chance to see these two duke it out over a series will be a real treat to watch. Here are two of the most physically gifted players in the game pitted against each other while they are both playing some some of the best basketball of their careers. LeBron just wrapped up one of the best seasons of all time, is the favorite in the MVP race, and is fully focused on winning a ring. After being maligned for much of the season, Melo has been on a tear down the stretch. Everyone knows he can score, but what has been most surprising is the effort he has put forth on the defensive end. While it’s pretty certain that LeBron will do more for his team overall, this matchup is a push due to their crunch-time tendencies. It boils down to a simple question: When the game is on the line, who do you want taking the last shot? I’m taking Carmelo all day and twice on Sundays.

Advantage: Push

Power Forward: Chris Bosh (18.0/7.9/1.8) vs Amar’e Stoudemire (17.4/7.9/1.1)

I was shocked to see that Bosh and STAT’s season splits are identical. To say that both of these guys have underperformed would be an understatement. While I can sympathize for STAT who has been battling what seems like a serious back injury and the loss of his brother, Bosh’s performance has been inexplicable. It would seem that after a year of playing with two of the best players in the world, he would be able to take advantage of his role and average 20 and 10 a night; but he just doesn’t. Even though both have underwhelmed, they each have shown in the past that they can dominate so I won’t count them out just yet.

Advantage: Push

Center: Joel Anthony (3.5/4.0/1.3 bpg) vs Tyson Chandler (11.3/9.9/1.4 bpg)

The combination Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem will provide a decent presence in the paint for the Heat, but let’s be honest: This matchup is all about Tyson Chandler. Chandler was, simply put, the best signing of the offseason. The center came in and completely changed the culture of the organization and turned the Knicks into a top-10 defensive team (statistically, anyway). His hustle, enthusiasm and hard work have been contagious in the locker room and the Knicks owe a huge part of this Playoff appearance to his performance. The center should win Defensive Player of the Year and his presence may swing the series in the Knicks’ favor.

Advantage: Knicks

Prediction: This matchup will live up the hype. While the Heat have the better starting five, the Knicks are much deeper and have lethal shooters in JR Smith and Steve Novak coming off the bench. If they can get hot, and stay hot, throughout the series, the Heat will be in trouble. But, Miami is also one of the top defensive teams in the NBA and if the Knicks go on any sort of extended cold stretch or have turnover problems, they will get run over. The first two games in South Beach will be crucial and with all eyes on this series and a few games sure to come down to the wire, LeBron will fold under the pressure just enough for New York to capitalize and steal one of the first two games. The Garden will be rockin’ once the Knicks return home and Melo has been unstoppable. Combine that with the Knicks’ depth, their loyalty toward Coach Woodson and the presence of Tyson Chandler, and New York moves on, making for another historic chapter in the Knicks-Heat Playoff feud.

Knicks Win 4-3.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com jessdogg

    hahaha ridiculous.

  • Jon

    Was this supposed to be satire. You do realize the Heat swept the Knicks with over a +12 differential. Heat in 5, maybe 6 if the Knicks get lucky a couple of games.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I love how the supposed best player/mvp is a “push” with a guy that sucked for the first 40gms of the season.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eli Kaufmann

    Alonzo Mourning. Larry Johnson. Tim Hardaway. Etcetera. BLOOD.

  • http://nba.com/celtics lights out

    two of those three games took place before Woodson stepped up as head coach and things started to turn around (they’re 18-6 under Woodson), and the one time they played the Heat under Woodson, Stoudemire was out and they lost by only 8. i don’t think the Knicks will win either, but to say they have a shot is fair.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qNzF0mZUPI MeloMan15

    Wow.. the first time I’ve seen someone predict knicks. I think it’s really possible, but not probable. The knicks would have to have a lot of things go in their favour. That being said, I’ll still pray. In melo we trust

  • Sparker

    thanks for reminding me, for the thousandth time, just how delusional new york basketball fans can be

  • ripslam

    *scroll to bottom* *See “Knicks Win”*
    -
    *Leave page*

  • fizzbucket

    Who lets these clowns write articles for this site? LeBron-Melo is a “push”? Gimme a break.

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    fizzbucket; Melo gives Lebron problems offensively. That’s not a secret.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    True that Spaceship
    He is a deadly weapon from the triple threat position and he’s burned LeBron a lot when they match up one on one. Should be fun to watch no doubt.

  • T-Money

    bahahah. well, if you consider melo vs bron and stat vs bosh to be even match ups… defense and playmaking obviously don’t matter.

  • AsadSaleh3

    If Melo decides to make it a one on one battle with LeBron, the Knicks will be done in 5. He can’t win that matchup. LeBron can get his offensively and make Melo take tough shots. Melo will forget he has four teammates on the floor with him in order to prove that he can get his against LeBron. Not a good idea. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring Amar’e off the bench. He and Melo play their best when they’re not together on the floor.

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    lebron james and chris bosh are not a push for melo and stoudamire. This is ridiculous. the knicks have no real advantage here and they will be murdered. The heat have literally mollywhomped every incarnation of the knicks I don’t know why people expect this to be different.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    …loyalty to Coach Woodson?
    that’s the most ridiculous thing on this article.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    I suppose this will be the series everyone will be watching, cant blame them.

  • cru_thik305

    this was obviously written by a knick fan. a dumba$$ knick fan at that

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    Its ridiculous you guys got the LBJ/Melo as a push but I wouldn’t be surprise if the Knicks beat Miami. I can foresee the Knicks putting a lot of pressure on the Heat.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    In 15 head-to-head games, LeBron outscores Melo (25.1 to 23), outrebounds him (7.5 to 6), outpasses him (7.3 to 2.4), outsteals him (1.9 to .9) and shoots better from the field (46% to 44%). So much for the “Melo outplays LeBron” nonsense.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Double J

    Well I guess a lot of these guys have never really watched a LeBron/Melo battle…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Dagger

    Lebron VS Melo a push? Stopped reading.

  • bmorezbest

    i love melo but HEAT in 5 after shumpert and chandler nobody else plays D all of miami plays defense thats the difference

  • Ill Smith

    @JTaylor Melo’s teams were 9-6 in those games though, not that it really matters. This series comes down to coaching (Knicks advantage) & if NYK can get hot/figure out their offense (Heat advantage). Spoelstra is still toying with lineups AS WE ENTER the playoffs. Son has no clue wtf he’s doing. Woodson on the other hand knows exactly….but their offense is dumbfounded when Melo & STAT share the court together. If they can find a way to coexist (give Amare more PT with the bench unit), Shump can hold DWadeto around 20, Melo continue his run, JR& Novak catch fire & the awesome D continues….NYK could gut it out. That’s a lot to ask for though so lets play it smart….HEAT in 6. But if NY does it I won’t be surprised at all.

  • RIGGS

    lol im loving the uproar i knew the prediction would bring.

  • Peter Walsh
  • http://thesportzbroz.com Adam

    Let’s go, Pete!

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com/ O

    Jermain Dupri bagged Janet Jackson, Giants beat the 17-0 Patriots for the Superbowl, a black man with no ties to a secret society is president, Usher and Akon are making money off of white music artists who have predominately white, teen and gay fan bases, Kim Kardashian will be the next mayor of Glendale – anything is possible, people. You can’t tell me the Knicks have NO chance of pulling off an upset.

  • MUBWAR

    the man who’s about to receive his 3rd mvp award is a push against Melo? knicks will win in 7? who wrote this stupid article?

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    the knicks have no chance against the heat and whoever wrote this should get off melo and stat’s d*ck immediately.

  • bike

    Closer than people think but the Knicks ‘aint beating the Heat. C’mon man, you know better than that.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Miami in 6.

  • Rainman

    Is Slam serious? Im FAR from a heat supporter…but u guys REALLY havent got a clue it seems…

    Yes, its gonna be a fun series, yes, it cud be competitive, but anyone that knows anything has the Heat Winning. Which is why its called an UPSET ig the Knicks win. (which is possible, but to say Knicks in 7 is ridiculous.)

  • Rainman

    …oh. A Knick fan wrote it i see, makes a lot more sense now LOL

  • http://www.2manweave.com Danye

    So you’re telling me there’s a chance.. YEAH! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCFB2akLh4s

  • http://slamonline Brion

    I agree with everyone who says the Heat will win,BUT…if N.Y. wins the first game or so, there is soo much more pressure on the Heat while N.Y. can play loose without any expectations. First game of the series is huge.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    Brion agreed
    The Heat have to come out in Game 1 and say “this is our f*ckin time” and just stomp a$$ from the word go. Leave no hope and kill their hopes and dreams.

  • Knicksfan101

    For all those Melo haters that think that lebron melo is not a push can u tell me who has the advantage in wins and he made the all star team as a starter in a down season so u all can shut up

  • Ghost361

    There are some delusional basketball fans In here if u don’t think the Knicks are capable of winning this. Miami struggled to beat a Knicks team without Staf and Lin and they had their whole squad. They play much better D than before and ate under a new system. And their bench is waaaaaay more productive. This should be a long series

  • Knicksfan101

    @jtaylor if he sucked all season then y was he in the all stargame as a starter. U must be mental this Carmelo Anthony the most explosive scorer in the NBA second to no1

  • http://Slamonline.com Gab

    What part of MIA going to the Finals again does Mr.Peter not understand???

  • buzzkut

    Heat in a sweep.

  • jinolin

    Season Bron > Melo
    Playoffs Melo > Bron
    (The derivative effect where the variable is the “playoff” intensity)
    I respect Bron and he is the arguably the best player in the game today. But, Melo passes him (in a playoff setting) because of his clutch factor.
    Granted that factor will be pointless if the Knicks cant keep the games close, but since they have a better bench, a better coach, and a better fan base (all of them New Yorkers in South Beach) I can the Knicks beating the Heat in 7.
    All in all the pressure is on STAT and JR in this series.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    Knicksfan
    The all star game is terrible evidence because it’s nothing but a mere popularity contest

  • jinolin

    see**

  • WHAT?

    Melo vs. LeBron a push? Knicks in 7? are you kidding? knicks don’t have a chance at winning with a guard rotation of davis, shumpert, bibby, douglas, and smith.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    I HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR THE LONGEST TIME, KNICKS WILL BEAT MIAMI IN THE 1ST ROUND AND LEBRON FANS WILL BLAME WADE OR BOSH. LAST YEAR MIAMI CAUGHT A BREAK. MELO WILL SHOW BRON WHAT A STAR IS. KNICKS JR SMITH WILL KILL. book it!!

  • buzzkut

    When people are using “better fanbase” and “loyalty to their coach” as reason why the Knicks will win, you know it’s time to move on.

  • J.C.

    All I can think is the author of this article is a Miami fan and doesn’t want to jinx it by saying Miami will win. I don’t even like the Heat and I’ll be cheering for the Knicks the whole series but c’mon dude…

  • MG33

    I say Heat bring the broom to new york and *sweep* *sweep* *sweep* the knicks!

  • DruNyce

    It’s cookin’ time for ‘Melo …

  • Wet

    Do the knicks have a chance to win, sure… But calling a prediction for it and making a joke of the matchups… please. Joke column.

  • bobbyD

    @101knicksfan Melo started because of delusional fans such as yourself, not based on the season he was having up to that point. Explosive scorer second to none…umm how about Durante with 3 scoring titles in a row?
    @jinolin Playoffs Melo > Bron How many Finals has Melo played in?

  • everything

    Lebron always plays his best.. ok most of the time.. in MSG.

  • http://www.acb.com A l a n

    Miami in 4, maybe 5. This is the typical series that has better previews than actual games imho

  • Justin G.

    Did somebody just use the fact that Carmelo was a starter in the All Star Game to show why him and Lebron are a push? Talk about losing credibility real fast. To me the X factor matchup is Stoudemire and Bosh. If both are playing at their peak level on both ends of the floor, Bosh gets the upper hand. Heat in 6 competitive games

  • peter you a joke

    hope you get fired after your dumb ass prediction

  • Conoro

    I just hope that Anthony continues his legacy of eating James alive so that the latter’s overrated man-on-man defense is exposed, consistently, to a national audience.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    4 hours and 5 minutes until gametime…Get ready!

  • Phillip

    If Melo is par with James, and James is par with Durant, does that mean Melo is on par with Durant?

  • Rainman

    Oh guys, The Seed agree’s with the nonesense that is this whole piece. Not so surprising. BOOK IT!

  • Rainman

    @ kicksfan: all star game starter is about the worst evidence u can give. Thats all a popularity contest pretty much dude…

  • jinolin

    @bobbyd Ill give you scenario, 1 min on the clock tied game who do you take to have the ball in his hands?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Double J

    so much hate in these comments, i loved this article, having hope in a team is awesome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    ….I will simply laugh if this really happens.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    How many f*cking flops are they going to whistle for LeBron James?! STUPID @SS REFS.

  • RKJ92

    WOOOOOOO THE KINGS AMAZINGGG!!! ARE YOU SEEING THIS!? WOW

  • Demon

    You know it’s bad when the announcers are complaining about the flopping!

  • RKJ92

    @jinolin Ill give you a scenario LeBron with 23 points in the first half (your a FOOL)

  • Jono

    LeBron James vs Carmelo Anthony push?! aaaaaaaaahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • RKJ92

    LOL!!! I KNOW WHATA JOKE RIGHT!? OMGGGGGG

  • Jono

    Why did JR irritate George Karl so much? Today it was on display on national TV. Very talented but oh so stupid at the same time.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Dagger

    Lebron VS Melo . . . still look like a push? Lol . . . .

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    cosign dagger… knicks getting swept.

  • MUBWAR

    soooooooo I guess this won’t go the distance. looooooooooool Mr Walsh i hope you come up with better ways of hyping this team.

  • RKJ92

    There’s 2 obvious problems with the Knicks they dont have another go to scorer other then Melo unless you want an immature ball chucker in JR Smith and 2 noone can really play defence except for a foul prone Chandler, and an injured Shumpert. For sure this series is gonna be a sweep I still couldn’t understand what all the hype was for on the Knicks side :S

  • http://bulls.com airs

    “don’t expect the knicks to get run over”
    ummmmm

  • Jose

    Lol knick fan hype falls flat for the ten thousandth consecutive time! Walsh you are one know-nothing tool! Knicks suck forever, zero playoff wins last 13 years!!!!

  • Fred

    What’s the difference between Lebron James, Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet… Nothing, all three are very good actress.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Wow, even though it’s only been one game, the writer of this article sure got some serious egg on his face.
    67 points, in the playoffs.
    Ugly.

  • http://www.yahoo.com berkamore

    The Knicks looked bad today but it’s a long series. I want to see how they are going to react before judging. That’s why the playoffs are fun, seeing adjustments from game to game, like chess. It’s just one game, after all but it did look bad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Y’all sure I wasn’t watching Denzel Washington play for Miami today? Only the best actors can take over a game with THAT kind of ability.

  • RKJ92

    K as huge a fan i am of LeBron, let’s be real he acted on TWO plays the out of bounds flop and getting hit by Chandler that’s only 4 freethrow shots! does that still change a 100-67 blowout? like c’mon stop hating -.-

  • Duck Johnson

    I’m expecting the Knicks to get run over.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    I’m expecting to get run over too, when the Knicks are not only playing the heat, but the refs. The NBA should be ashamed of itself for the officiating we witnessed in the first game of this series. Even Bill Simmons at one point yesterday tweeted, “28 FT’s to 5. I don’t watch rigged NBA games, I’m switching to hockey.”

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Did you know? Ed Malloy, Joey Crawford, Ed Rush, Mike Callahan, and the infamous Tim Donaghy, all attended Cardinal O’Hara High School in Philadelphia…Interesting.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Dagger

    Has to be said: there is nothing more pathetic for an NBA fan than blaming the refs for a 40-point loss.

  • Fred

    @ Dagger, we don’t blame the refs for the 33-point loss, but bad officiating change the momentum of a game. At some point, the Knicks get call for breathing. And like I said earlier, Lebron is a very good actress. The NBA lost credibility the way they officiated the game.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    @Fred and get this, Dagger is a Mavericks fan…he should copy and paste that for Cubes next time he complains.

  • http://slamonline.com coldasice

    umm so if there’s bad officiating then u dont blame the refs?? so who makes the calls???the refs clearly allowed miami to be physical but wouldnt allow the knicks to be the same. it was like jordan was out there gettin his calls. smh. yea 33 is unacceptable. but when miami shoots roughly 33 ft’s compared to ny’s 7 for a whole gm who got the calls. when 3 players have 4 fl and an additional 4 players have 3 roughly before halftime how are u able to play ur gm when ur already in foul trouble.and the flops have got to stop. and the last i checked playoffs is supposed to be physical?? so u allow 1 team that ya favor but the other team cant??? c’mons on

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    There’s a reason why I don’t comment around here anymore. Writer is a moron. Commenters still have no clue about the game. Nothing’s changed…still trying to cater to 15 year olds. SMH.

  • Spurs

    Absolutely love this preview. 3-0 miami now but I’m sure the Knicks will come back and win in 7 like you predicted. And Melo is definitely playing at lebrons level this series… who wrote this preview…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    We can only hope that Peter Walsh never, ever, ever, ever again writes another basketball related article for public consumption ’cause this is just as big an embarrassment for SLAM to have printed this then it was to have been read by it’s readers.

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