GAME 3 EASTERN CONFERENCE ROUND 1: Knicks vs. Heat 7:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: The Knicks had the day off on Tuesday following the trip to Miami for Game 1 and 2. During the Wednesday practice at Madison Square Garden Training Center, New York focused on adjustments and another new-look lineup with two starters sidelined. Amar’e Stoudemire will not suit up for Game 3 and Iman Shumpert is out for the season with a torn ACL and meniscus. Shumpert had surgery on Wednesday and Jeremy Lin is not quite ready for game action yet as he continues to rehab from a knee procedure. Interim head coach Mike Woodson told the media he would place Carmelo Anthony back at the power forward spot but was not sure who would join Baron Davis and Tyson Chandler in the starting lineup. The Knicks were able to celebrate a good piece of news on Wednesday when the NBA announced Chandler as the Kia 2011-12 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Miami: While the Knicks traveled back to New York to prepare for Game 3, the Heat remained in Miami to take advantage of a practice day on Wednesday. After the squad arrived in New York, Chris Bosh quickly jumped back on a private plane to Miami because his wife was preparing to give birth. At the moment, the Heat will not rule out Bosh for Game 3 at the Garden and his status is still up in the air.
Last Time Out
Game 2 – Miami 104-94: The Knicks made a couple of runs in the second half and even cut the lead to just five points after Baron Davis connected on a 3-pointer at the 3:36 mark of the third quarter. Just when New York seemed to gain momentum, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and even Mario Chalmers hit timely shots to keep the Heat’s advantage hovering around double digit points. Miami’s balanced attack of Wade, Chris Bosh, and James combined for 65 points. New York’s Big Three of Anthony, Stoudemire, and Chandler combined for 61 points. The Heat shot 52.1 percent from the floor while the Knicks hit 49.4 percent in the 104-94 Game 2 defeat.
Game 1 – Miami 100 New York 67: The Heat exploded on a 22-2 run while outscoring the Knicks 30-13 in the second quarter to take a commanding 54-31 lead at halftime. 16 New York turnovers in the first 24 minutes of the contest plagued the team in its attempt to steal a game in a hostile environment. James scored 23 of his game-high 32 points in the first half to help secure a dominant 100-67 win at home. Anthony was held to 11 points and Stoudemire posted nine in the defeat.
The Numbers Game
Due in large part to Chandler’s recovery from the flu-like symptoms in Game 2, New York outrebounded Miami 40-33. The Knicks will need to narrow the gap in terms of points in the paint after being outscored 50-38 on Monday night.
Match-up to Watch
Knicks Bench vs. Heat Bench
There is a theory that second unit players excel when playing in their home arena. In Game 3, New York will need major contributions from J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, and Mike Bibby. Depending on the starting lineup, Landry Fields is also a major piece of the puzzle if the Knicks expect to snatch a game on their home floor. Mike Miller and Shane Battier combined for 22 points while Novak and Smith combined for 16 in the Game 2 defeat. This trend must reverse, especially from the 3-point line where the sharpshooters for New York are deadly inside the Garden.
What to Look For
Anthony slides back to the power forward spot tonight, which is not his natural position but he has been extremely successful at the 4 this year. The advantage of Anthony’s move to power forward is that he catches the rock closer to the rim and in the post area where he can operate with his back to the basket or face up. Miami was successful in Game 1 by fronting Anthony for most of the game. In Game 2, the Knicks All-Star worked without the ball and found open space to score a game-high 30 points against one of the best defensive teams in the league. As seen in wins against Chicago and Boston at the Garden, Anthony must rise to the challenge once again and execute a legendary performance.