Xmas Day NBA Action – Miami Heat at New York Knicks
Miami Heat at New York Knicks
Friday, December 25th – 12:05 PM ET
The Week That Was: Heat
The Heat ended a decidedly mixed week on a high note by taking out the Jazz last night 80-70. Coach Erik Spoelstra saw his club win a game it was expected to lose, and drop a game it figured to win.
On Dec. 17, Miami Heat waxed an Orlando team that has traditionally been a nemesis for Dwyane Wade and Co. The Heat had won just one game against the Magic in a three-season span, but last week’s 104-86 romp over Orlando gave Miami two wins this season against the defending Eastern Conference champions. The not-so-secret element of Miami’s success was pronounced rhythm at the offensive end of the floor.
The Heat – who had historically been bothered by Orlando’s combination of length and power – moved the ball fluidly and created good opportunities for everyone on the court. Wade dished out seven assists while scoring 25 points, as the Heat shot 52 percent from the field in their 18-point triumph.
On Dec. 20, the positive vibes from the Orlando win evaporated, as Miami lost at home to injury-depleted Portland, 102-95. Brandon Roy carried the Trail Blazers by scoring 11 of his 28 points in the game’s final five minutes.
The Week That Was: Knicks
The New York Knicks are hardly a member of the NBA’s elite, and at 11-17 on the season, they’re still not in playoff position. But after starting their season 4-15, their current situation isn’t all that bad by comparison.
Why are the Knicks rising, and not falling, in the Eastern Conference playoff chase? Because they’re piecing together weeks like the one they just had. New York didn’t play dynamic basketball, but coach Mike D’Antoni’s club won games over the past seven days to inch toward the East’s eighth playoff spot.
On Dec. 17, the Knicks fell to Chicago by a 98-89 score, but they rebounded the next night to outlast the Los Angeles Clippers, 95-91. New York drew two more sub-.500 opponents as the week continued, and threw a pair of parties at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks held off Charlotte on Dec. 20 by a 98-94 score, and then gained revenge against Chicago on Dec. 22, besting the Bulls, 88-81. The week of good work lifted New York to 8-3 in December and secured a winning month for a team that’s grown accustomed to losing. The Knicks don’t care that they’ve drawn bad opponents; they’ve beaten them – that’s news in itself.
Outlook & Pick
The Heat are hard to read, but they’re also a winning team. New York is moving upward in the standings, but the Knickerbockers have gotten fat against subpar competition. It’s very hard to read this contest at Madison Square Garden, but if the Heat play close to their capabilities, they should prevail in the Big Apple.