Hello, errybody. So currently, the Knicks are sitting on the 6th seed, with the potential to move up or down from there...if we move up, it seems likely that we would play the Magic in the first round. If we stand pat, probably Miami. If we fall behind Philadelphia, we would probably draw the Bulls. Who do you feel most excited or nervous about playing in the first round? For me, I'd actually be least interested in playing the Magic in the first round, due to their considerable size advantage over us. This means I'd be happier with the Knicks being the 6th or 7th seed than the 5th. Considering none of those seeds would earn us home court advantage, it really is all about who we'd want to face. Obviously, the team will try to win as many games as possible and would consider the 5th seed a victory, but it may be the fastest ticket out of the playoffs.
Against the Magic, we would struggle to contain their size, as mentioned before, but they are also a particularly strong outside shooting team with a defensive anchor in D12. Melo might be particularly effective against them, as they have nobody (outside of J-Rich, possibly) who can guard him. Amare vs. Dwight is a bunch of technical fouls waiting to happen, as we have seen throughout this season and particularly when they have matched up against each other. Another problem with them is Jameer...he's exactly the kind of quick guard that Chauncey would struggle to defend, although we'd always have TD waiting in the wing to swipe any weak passes. Ultimately, not the best matchup, in my opinion. Here's my matchup breakdown:
Billups vs. Nelson: Tough to call, as Billups is decidedly smarter and better at running an offense, but Nelson can break down opposing defenses by getting around slower guards like Billups. I imagine that they'd take turns dominating each other from game to game, even quarter to quarter.
Fields vs. J Rich: Completely different players, with different impacts on their teams. I like Fields' ability to guard anyone, and if he can earn the upper hand in this matchup, it would be a huge boon for the Knicks.
Melo vs. Hedo: Melo should be able to destroy Hedo off the dribble, and Turkoglu's been on a steady decline the past few years. This would be a crucial matchup for us to dominate.
Amare vs. Anderson: Clear advantage for us here, but there will be a lot of switching due to Anderson's outside game and the Magic's desire to put Howard on Amare. It would be interesting to see how this plays out.
Jeffries/Turiaf vs. Howard: The biggest problem in the matchup, as neither of these guys has the combined size/strength to stop Howard. Jeffries may help on defense in general, but he'd be hard pressed to leave Dwight to help as that would lead to many alley-oops. Not the best matchup for him.
Against the Bulls, we have had a surprising amount of success this season, even if it was pre-trade. Amare has beasted against them, as have our outside shooters. Obviously, you have to be concerned about Derrick Rose, because he may be the hardest player to guard in the league off the dribble. Still, we match up relatively well with them; one thing to consider is that we have not played them with both Boozer and Noah on the floor, so it remains to be seen how the Knicks would handle that duo. Individual matchups:
Billups vs. Rose: Not to take anything away from Chauncey, but I don't even need to write about how hard it will be to stop Rose in the playoffs.
Fields vs. Korver: I may be wrong about their starting two, but I'm pretty sure it's Korver. I like Fields in this matchup, since he offers more things on both ends of the floor than Korver and can be counted on to stick to Korver and prevent outside shots.
Deng vs. Melo: Melo has a decided advantage, but he'd really need to dominate Deng for us to make up for deficiencies elsewhere, like on the front line and the point guard matchup.
Boozer vs. Amare: I'll take Amare all day, but he'd really need to be composed defensively to be able to maximize the Knicks' advantage and stay on the floor.
Jeffries/Turiaf vs. Noah: Just a bunch of hustling, defensive-minded big men, though Noah is undoubtedly the best of the bunch, so it would be hard to say the Knicks have an advantage here.
Against the Heat, the Knicks would have possibly the most intriguing upset possibility and a number of weird matchups. The Heat's lack of effective size bodes well for the Knicks, but there is always the Lebron / Wade dilemma. Both teams are effective at pushing the pace, but neither one has shown real commitment on the defensive end. Whichever team brings the stronger defensive effort would come away with the series win, in my mind. Individual matchups:
Billups vs. Kermit the Frog: This is the best possible matchup for Chauncey, as Bibby has lost a few steps himself and is the weakest potential point guard we'd face. Billups is also a better shooter and defender, so I like this one for the Knicks.
Wade vs. Fields: Landry has been pretty Landry when guarding Wade, but Dwyane is ultimately an impossible guy to completely contain. I imagine that Wade would shoulder a pretty heavy offensive burden in this matchup, so maybe Fields can capitalize on that by making him work on both ends of the floor.
Melo vs. Lebron: The most exciting potential matchup of all. Obviously, Lebron is one of the top three players in the league, so it's hard to say the Knicks would have an advantage, but it is also becoming abundantly clear that Melo has the cojones that Lebron doesn't in late game situations. Forcing Lebron to guard Melo will also take him off his game more than the other way around, I think.
Bosh vs. Amare: DESTROY HIM, AMARE. Seriously, Bosh can be effective in spurts, but Amare should be able to out-tough Bosh consistently and win this matchup handily.
Turiaf/Jeffries vs. Anthony/Ilgauskas/Dampier: Weird stuff here, as nobody really jumps out as a dominant force. I think that Jeffries stands to play his best against the Heat because he can thrive by helping off of Miami's bigs on defense. I don't see any advantage here for either team really, though.
That's about it. I'd love to hear what you guys have to say about this, as the season is turning the final corner and we start jockeying for playoff positioning. Fanposts have been a bit weak recently, so I'd like to see some intelligent discussion on this topic, since it may be the most important developing story for the rest of the season. I'm DONE