New York Faces Tough Challenge After Massacre Against Atlanta: Knicks vs. Heat Preview

Photo via Sarah Stier- Getty Images and posting and toasting

The New York Knicks (7-21) will be on the road, facing the Miami Heat (20-8) at 8:00pm Eastern Time. The Heat are listed as 9 point favorites, despite Justice Winslow being out with an injury.

Starting Lineups- With 2 Attributes That Will Be Impactful Tonight (Strength, Weakness)

PositionNew York KnicksMiami Heat
PGFrank Ntilikina (defense, scoring)Kendrick Nunn (shooting, turnovers)
SGRJ Barrett (driving, shooting)Jimmy Butler (scoring/defense, 3 point shooting)
SFMarcus Morris Sr. (3 point shooting, fouling)Duncan Robinson (3 point shooting, fouling/defense)
PFJulius Randle (interior scoring, turnovers)Meyers Leonard (rebounding, scoring)
CTaj Gibson (rebounding, shooting)Bam Adebayo (rebounding/defense, turnovers)

Matchup Of The Night

Mitchell Robinson vs. Bam Adebayo

Bam Adebayo has turned himself into one of the best Centers in the league this season. Adebayo is averaging 34.1 minutes per game and posting All-Star caliber numbers (15.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game). Adebayo is very quick on his feet and thrives offensively in the paint. He often runs the pick and roll or rolls off dribble hand-offs on offense. He catches lobs and often times finds the ball around the free throw line, where he can drive to the rim (where he has fantastic touch) or kick the ball to the outside (Miami has lots of shooting). Adebayo’s mishaps are few and far between, but he shoots 66.3% from the foul line, turns the ball over 2.9 times per game, and averages 2.8 fouls per game. Mitchell Robinson, although not drawing the start, will play the majority of minutes for the Knicks at Center. Robinson is one of the few Centers in the NBA that can match Adebayo’s athleticism. Robinson averages 10.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks in just 22.5 minutes of action this season. Robinson has had issues with fouling (3.4 per game), relegating him to the bench. However, Robinson has logged 25+ minutes in all of the Knicks last 7 contests. He is currently coming off a career-high 22 points. Robinson has been one of the Knicks top players all season and New York will lean heavily on him keep Adebayo in check and lockdown the paint, while the Knicks focus on covering the three-point line.

Inactives

Knicks- Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock

Heat- Justice Winslow

Key Statistics

  1. Miami averages 112.1 points per game, 11th in the NBA. New York averages 102.7 points per game, last in the NBA.
  2. Miami is 4th in the NBA with a field goal percentage of 47.2%. New York is last in the NBA, shooting 42.9% from the floor.
  3. The Heat are 2nd in the NBA, shooting 38.2% from three. The Knicks are 22nd in the NBA, shooting 34.8% from downtown.
  4. The Heat take 26.4 free throws per game, 4th in the NBA. The Knicks take 24.6 free throws per game, 8th in the NBA.
  5. The Knicks lead the league, averaging 12.2 offensive rebounds per game. The Heat are 28th in the NBA, averaging 8.9 offensive rebounds per game.
  6. New York is 10th in the NBA, averaging 14.5 turnovers per game. Miami is 29th in the NBA, averaging 16.9 turnovers per game.
  7. Miami averages 8.3 steals per game, 7th in the NBA. New York averages 7.8 steals per game, 17th in the NBA.
  8. The Heat are 21st in the NBA in Pace (99.82). The Knicks are 26th (98.6).
  9. The Knicks are 2nd in the NBA in Second Chance Points (15). The Heat are 21st (12.3).
  10. Miami averages 10.5 screen assists per game, 7th in the NBA. New York averages 8.1, 23rd in the NBA.

Keys To Winning

The Knicks will look to cover the three-point line, force Miami to turn the ball over, and shoot the ball from three tonight. Miami is one of the top three-point shooting teams in the NBA. New York will need to give special attention to Kenrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro from downtown. The Heat turn the ball over frequently, thus the Knicks will look to double-team and put pressure on them (hopefully leading to some easy baskets in transition). The Heat utilize a trio of big men (Adebayo, Leonard, and Olynyk). They also use a 2-3 zone a lot. Both result in a lack of perimeter defense, opening up good looks for teams from three. The Knicks will look to Marcus Morris Sr. (shooting 47.7% from three) to space the floor and knockdown jumpers. Kendrick Nunn and Jimmy Butler will be very tough covers for New York. Miami’s starting lineup matches up really well against New York, as the Knicks main scoring options Morris Sr. and Julius Randle will likely be covered by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. RJ Barrett should have a good matchup, likely squaring off against Duncan Robinson. Look for Mitchell Robinson and Elfrid Payton to be major contributors for the Knicks off the bench tonight. Kevin Knox and Damyean Dotson may also provide a spark for the Knicks off the pine, adding strong three-point shooting.

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