Tonight the Heat will take on the Knicks in a crucial game 3 in New York. Miami have a 2-0 lead in the series, having protected home court. If history has any say, a win today would result in the Heat winning the series, as no team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs.
Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert are both out for the Knicks. Stoudemire injured his hand following the game 2 loss, as he punched the glass protecting a fire extinguisher. Stoudemire said he is hopeful to return for game 4.
Despite having their all-star forward sidelined, the Knicks hope to get themselves back into the series. Carmelo Anthony will be the starting power forward, which has proven to be successful in the absence of Amar’e in the regular season.
Miami have outplayed the Knicks all over the stats sheet in the last 2 games. Shooting 40.5% from three point range and so far averaging 9 more assists than New York, Miami have brought a complete team effort in the first two games of the series. The key has been the relentless intensity with which the Heat have played on defense. Despite Anthony scoring 30 points in game 2, James and Battier have found a good way to disrupt his and the Knicks’ offense.
Due to his wife preparing to give birth, Chris Bosh flew home and was initially set out to miss the game. However, Bosh should be able to play in game 3.
More so than before, the Heat will have to find a way to slow down Carmelo Anthony. With Amar’e out, Anthony and J.R. Smith will both be taking a lot of shots. At the same time it will be important not to forget about the three point threat that is Steve Novak. Offensively Heat have been very solid, shooting the ball well. The high shooting percentage has mostly come from great play by Wade and James. Facing a lot of double teams in game 2, LeBron always seemed to find open teammates, giving them good looks and getting himself 9 assists. Depending on the nature of the game, James and Wade will both have to adapt offensively and take what the Knicks’ defense gives them, but remain agressive at the same time.
The game starts 7 P.M eastern.