Miami is very, very good at defending the pick-and-roll and the paint. They are worse at defending the medium-to-long jumpers (esp the pick-and-pop), and pretty much suck at defending the three. This is by choice. They depend on their crazy athleticism to close out fast on any open shooters when they have to.
But that’s the way to beat Miami. You MUST hit your mid-to-long jumpers, and you should take (and hit, obviously) as many good threes as you can. While that’s probably good advice in any game, the thing about the Heat is that they won’t give you too many easy looks near the rim, so you really have to have the shooters to make them pay for the defensive choices they make.
The problem for NY is: we have only Melo, Novak and sometimes JR (when he’s on) to take those shots. And for some reason, Woodson’s not giving Novak much run. I think that’s a mistake, for the reasons above. The Knicks SHOULD be playing Novak heavy minutes, and JR too. [Extra benefit: JR covers Wade — he can do it, if he keeps his head straight.] Run plays for both those guys, and of course always Melo, to get open looks from the perimeter, while always keeping an eye out for opportunities near the rim.
Of course, you gotta get the ball TO your shooters, which is much easier said than done when you don’t have a point guard AND you’re facing one of the best defenses in the league. So that sucks.
But if the Knicks could pull this off offensively -- and also play decent D (which we have seen -- but that was with Shump around), and take care of the ball better (but without Lin) -- they can win this way. Or at least have a ’puncher’s chance.’ But it's a lot to ask.
Still, this is how the Knicks beat the Celtics the last time they met... and it took heroic shooting to get it done. So yeah, it's a tough row to hoe, and not likely to happen with our roster so depleted.... but it's not impossible.
Also, as Jeremy's Harvard Professor said, if they can throw some zone defense against Miami, so much the better.
P.S. I know it's galling to root for the Celtics, but I think between the Heat and Celtics, y'all would probably prefer the enemy you've known longer. Celtics will beat the Heat in the ECF.