Current Standings - New York - 2nd in the Eastern Conference (6.5 games behind Miami), 1st in the Atlantic Division (2.5 games ahead of Brooklyn) Miami - 1st in Eastern Conference
Previous Meeting - New York beat Miami 112-92 on December 6th (Carmelo Anthony DNP)
What To Watch For - The New York Knicks 3 game winning streak is something to be encouraged by despite the victories coming against less than stellar competition. Yet, the Miami Heat? They have won 13 games in a row and 18 of their last 20. LeBron James is on another stratosphere right now and is arguably playing the game of basketball better than it is has ever been played. The Knicks have beat Miami handily in both their meetings this season and another win would be an enormous confidence boost and help continue widen their lead in the Atlantic Division over the slumping Brooklyn Nets.
Injury Update - New York - The Knicks are finally expected to be at full strength with Marcus Camby returning. Miami - Shane Battier and Mike Miller have been a little banged up lately but both are expected to play.
Key Matchup - Carmelo vs. LeBron – Who else? Can Carmelo raise his game to answer whatever LeBron brings to the table at MSG, where he has traditionally played very well? The Knicks need a vintage ‘Melo performance and the rest of the offense clicking around him to deal with the Heat’s swarming defense and to keep pace with their runs on offense.
Knicks Win If - They are knocking down their open three point shots and force LeBron and Dwyane Wade to consistently take difficult shots when defending them. Miami is going to get their points and go on their runs but if the Knicks are shooting well, they have the firepower to withstand it.
Heat Win If - They dictate the tempo of the game and frustrate Carmelo early and often. The Heat will have those two losses to the Knicks fresh in their heads and should be at a playoff like intensity on both ends of the court.