Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat started off the regular season with a bang this year by utilizing a spread offense similar to what the Oregon Ducks football team uses. With Amar’e Stoudemire out for the Knicks, that kind of high-flying offense may resurface for the Heat.
The Heat expect New York to play more small ball with Stoudemire out of the game. The Knicks may employ a strategy similar to what the Heat do and move Carmelo Anthony to the power forward position and bring in smaller players at other positions.
The difference though is the Heat do that with LeBron James, who can literally cover any player on the floor at any position. Carmelo has never been mistaken for a defender and routinely gets beat most times down the floor.
The Heat have dominated much of the action so far in the series as they’ve gone up 2-0. The Knicks lost Iman Shumpert during a blowout in Game 1 and then lost Stoudemire after he decided to take his frustration out on a fire extinguisher and lost.
The Heat have won five straight games over the Heat dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season. Game 3 moves the series back to New York, but the Knicks can pretty much forget any home court advantage.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade thrive at Madison Square Garden and will be extra fired up Thursday night to try and move the Heat within one victory of the second round.
“It’s going to add a lot. We understand the intensity is going to raise even more,” James said. “I’ve had an opportunity to play a lot of games in that building, but none quite as big as these. This is the Mecca of basketball and it comes with a little more incentive. There’s a lot of history in this building. But we understand what we’re there for.”
The Knicks playoff woes have been long documented, but it bears repeating how epically bad the Knicks have been in the playoffs.
The last time the Knicks won a playoff game was 11 years ago. To put it in perspective, Heat superstar LeBron James was a sophomore in high school then, former Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis played his entire career, Kobe Bryant has scored 29,915 points, the first iPod was released, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had just graduated from high school.
New York has lost 12 straight playoff games and hasn’t won a playoff series in just as long. The Knicks have even fallen behind the New Jersey, now Brooklyn Nets. The Nets have won 43 playoff games since the Knicks have won one.
The Heat were unsure about the status of power forward Chris Bosh, who flew home late Wednesday night to be there for the birth of his son. Baby Bosh and mother are fine after the birth and Chris is expected to return to the Heat for Thursday’s game.
Teammate LeBron James said the basketball game could be just the thing Chris needs after the birth.
“It can be physically draining because you don’t get much sleep while you’re going through that whole process,” James said. “But as far as mentally draining, I think the best way to deal with it is make sure the family’s OK, make sure his wife of course is OK, and this is a great way to get away from it, to come back here and play the game of basketball.”
As for the D-Wade and LeBron loving to play in Madison Square Garden, just look at the numbers. James averages 29.9 points there, second behind Kobe Bryant among active players. Wade is fourth with 27.3, according to STATS, LLC.
“It’s no secret that besides the AmericanAirlines Arena, it’s is my favorite place to play,” Wade said. “I look forward to how this team is going to respond in a very hostile environment with the lights as bright as they can be.”
Tipoff for Game 3 is expected shortly after 7 p.m. and can be seen on Sun Sports and TNT.