Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When the Miami Heat play the New York Knicks Thursday night, Jeremy Lin’s presence on the court will give an added dimension to the Knicks game that will be especially prevalent in the Knicks’ offensive attack.
Lin and the Knicks’ two big men, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire, will run the pick and roll early and often against the Miami Heat.
Chandler and Stoudemire’s size, combined with Lin’s quickness to the left side of the court, has proven deadly to opponents.
But, this is an area where the Heat may have the ability to really put the pressure on Lin.
The Heat’s defense has been impressive and it’s improved throughout the regular season. Where the Heat excels is in quickness in getting into defensive position, switching off players on defense, and getting into double-teams fast.
How good is the Heat defending the pick and roll? The Heat’s opponents are shooting just 37 percent on the pick and roll, according to ESPN. But that doesn’t tell the whole story.
What the Heat are likely to do on Lin and the pick and roll is to push the pick all the way out to the top of the key and then to quickly double-team Lin as soon as the pick is set.
That means either Chandler or Stoudemire will be open briefly, meaning the Heat will have to shift to cover the big man.
Once the Heat shift, it runs the risk of leaving a man open. Obviously, the Heat won’t leave Carmelo Anthony unguarded; so the Heat will force someone other than Stoudemire, Anthony, or Lin beat the Heat Thursday night.
The Heat can shift out to the double team thanks to the speed and size of Joel Anthony, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James. Along with the switch to the double-team, the speed of the Heat’s big men and wing players make shifting the defense that much easier for head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Joel Anthony and Chris Bosh’s defense will be key Thursday night to stopping Lin and the pick and roll of the New York Knicks. If the Heat can slow down the pick and roll, the Heat will easily knock off the Knicks.
But, if Lin and the Knicks start hitting shots early and often and force the Heat to guard everyone and not double team off the pick and roll, it could be a very long game for the Heat.