It’s been more than a week since New York suffered a defeat (last lost came on November 13th to the Cleveland Cavaliers). In their previous match-up, they walked out the Toyota Center with a 107-102 win over the Houston Rockets. Rookie Kristaps Porzingis had a transcendent game with 24 points (on 8 of 12 shooting) 14 boards and 7 blocks. When asked about Porzingis, Head Coach Derek Fisher said “Everybody, of course, was fascinated by the shot-making, but we thought the activity on the defensive end was one thing that would really give him a chance to be good.” Fellow teammate Carmelo Anthony added “It was [a] concern from people who didn’t know. People didn’t know what to expect. Nobody had even seen him before and people were all so upset that the Knicks drafted him.” The Knickerbockers recent success can’t be credited to just one guy. In the win over Houston, five players finished in double digit scoring and four players are averaging over ten points per game this season.
Projected Starting Lineups:
Jose Calderon, Aaron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Robin Lopez.
Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside.
Porzingis will need to showcase another defensive performance as he will be matched up with Chris Bosh. The ten-time all star is averaging 18 points and 10 boards per game. Heat rookie Justin Winslow, will also have his share guarding a former all star named Carmelo Anthony. Another key guy to watch for will be the former two time NBA champion, Dwyane Wade. Leading his team in points and assists, Wade, 33, has not been shy from his star level and has gotten off to a tremendous start. In the last two games, he has total up 51 points. The former Most Improved Player of the year Goran Dragic, has dropped his offensive numbers slightly compared to the past seasons. He is averaging 11 points per game and displayed a six point game performance last contest. A challenge for the Knicks will be achieving inside points with rising start Hassan Whiteside protecting the paint. Whiteside is leading the league in blocks with five per contest.
This game will wrap up Miami’s current seven game home stand (longest one this season); they’ve won five of the six completed. Their last victory came against the Philadelphia 76ers (96-91) on Saturday night. New York will look for some revenge after the Heat took all three meetings last seasons. Out of their last 23 meetings, the Knickerbockers have dropped 17 to them. While at home, Miami has been playing their strongest basketball averaging 100 points, eight steals and nine blocks per contest. Meanwhile, New York is performing their best away from Madison Square Garden averaging 104 points per game and shooting 42 percent from downtown.
Tipoff will come shortly after 7:30 P.M. EST.