Word came down earlier today that Carmelo Anthony will miss tonight’s matchup with the Miami Heat with a wrist injury that has
been bothering him over the past two games.
With Melo out I would expect Bill Walker to join the starting lineup for the Knickerbockers. Walker’s range and scoring abilities should help bridge the gap as far as the starters are concerned, but it will weaken their already shallow bench.
The Knicks have lost seven of their last eight games, and getting back on track against the surging Miami Heat won’t be easy. The Heat have won 5 of their last six and have looked great despite playing without their star guard Dwayne Wade.
If the Knicks have any hope whatsoever to win this ball game they are going to have to tighten up on D and play smart on offense.
The Miami Heat’s attack has been heavy on Chris Bosh in the past few games, so this is something the Knicks are going to need to focus on from a defensive perspective; this means that we are likely to see a heavy dose of Tyson Chandler guarding Chris Bosh—the effects of which are two-fold. By pitting their superior defensive front court player against Bosh, the Knicks are both neutralizing the Heat’s best front court player, as well as freeing up Amar’e Stoudemire to put the majority of his focus on the offense end of the floor as he will be left to guard the offensively challenged Joel Anthony.
On offense the key to the Knicks attack will once again be ball movement. Now that Anthony is out of the lineup, the Knicks will have one less player that requires their touches; this should make it much easier for the Knicks to share the wealth and spread the floor with their shooters. Look for a steady dose of pick and rolls with Stoudemire in an attempt to get him going in Anthony’s absence. Should the Knicks be able to get some assistance from their role players, they be able to make things interesting tonight in Miami.
On another note, if you have not read this piece by Ken Berger then I suggest you do immediately. Berger takes a look inside the Knicks locker room and you may not like what he sees. This will also be particularly enlightening for those of you that have chosen Mike D’Antoni as your scapegoat for the Knicks’ early season struggles.
Projected starters for tonight’s game:
Knicks: Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, Landry Fields, Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert
Heat: Joel Anthony, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers
Tip off: 8 pm EST at American Airlines Arena