The Knicks and Heat renew their rivalry for the first time this season tonight at Madison Square Garden. This is the first meeting of four between the two as both teams are fighting for a top six spot in the east.
New York is coming off of a tough overtime defeat against the Los Angeles Lakers at The Garden on Tuesday. While the Miami Heat enter MSG after a three point win in Cleveland against the Cavaliers.
This matchup doesn’t need much in order to hype it up, but this year in particular the regular season meetings mean a lot as the current seventh seed in the east takes on the sixth seed in the east. These four meetings are of the upmost importance when it comes to the business end of the year.
The season for the Miami Heat has been a peculiar one for the most part. Miami was a shot away from the NBA Finals last season, but now have been in basketball purgatory for a large chunk of the season. The Heat have been fighting just to stay in the playoff picture until things began to change for the better. Recently, however, Miami has found a spark as they have won four of their last five and seven of their last 10 overall.
Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo have been the leading men as always for the Heat, but it has come down to contributions from Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo that have helped Miami recover from a slow start to the season. The Heat are well balanced and have seven players who average double figures in scoring. Miami is on the rise and the Knicks will look to catch them for a top six spot and an automatic playoff bid.
On the injury front, Mitchell Robinson remains out for the Knicks while the Heat have a host of injury concerns involving their depth. Omer Yurtseven, who played for Patrick Ewing at Georgetown, is out with an injury as is Orlando Robinson. On top of that, Oladipo and Gabe Vincent are both day-to-day. We will see if the latter two can suit up for this important clash.
The Knicks showed some really good signs against the Lakers, but late game execution in the extra session stood in their way of another win. The defensive end of the floor will be key to this game and if the Knicks can hold their own on the boards they will be in good position to win the game. I think New York will bounce back take down the Heat tonight to get back on track.