Where: American Airlines Arena
Starting Lineups (Subject To Change)
PG: Norris Cole
SG: Mike Miller
PF: Rashard Lewis
C: Chris Bosh
PG: Pablo Prigioni
SG: Raymond Felton
SF: Iman Shumpert
PF: Carmelo Anthony
C: Tyson Chandler
If you had to stare at the Miami Heat lineup I have posted for tonight and do a double take or rub your eyes to make sure they can still see, or ask someone else to look at it to prove you're not crazy, I would not blame you.
The Heat, at 58-15, already the NBA's Southeast Division Champions and Eastern Conferences Number One heading into the playoffs are taking this time, with nine games remaining to make sure everyone is 100% healthy.
With that in mind, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and, the weakness of the Heat according to Raymond Felton, Mario Chalmers will all be enjoying the game from somewhere other than on the court.
Now, you may believe that the players are fine and that they are just resting for the sake of rest. I may think you are right. But, it doesn't matter because they are not playing and I for one am not really complaining.
One player that will be playing tonight and hasn't the past 10 games is Tyson Chandler. He had injuries to his knee and his neck in Denver and has been missed considering that Marcus Camby is super-glued to the bench meaning Kenyon Martin was only true big man playing.
The Knicks magic number to clinch the Atlantic Division is six and hold a 4.5 game lead on the Nets heading into play today. With the Heat playing at much lesser than 100%, we all expect them to win this game and head to Atlanta tomorrow on a nine game streak.
A five game lead in the division with nine to play would almost be impossible to give up and the season would come down to whether Indiana or the Knicks finish with the second seed.
But, be careful. The Spurs, at home no less, got picked off by Miami with Wade and James sitting, so it's not a lock that the Knicks will win this game. If the Knicks come out flat because they know Miami is not playing their best, they can be beat. It happened already when Miami took the Knicks lightly in December with Melo out and they lost by 20.
The Knicks know that tonight is just another step in reaching their goals of 50+ wins and clinching the division. Yes, Miami has basically opened the door for an easy Knicks victory, but it's never easy with this team.
Enjoy the game.
Five Questions About Tonight's Game
- How will Tyson Chandler look in his return from injury?
- Can J.R. Smith keep getting to the free throw line 10+ times?
- Will this Heat team be able to beat the Knicks with Chris Bosh as it's primary weapon?
- Is Udonis Haslem having cold sweats thinking about attempting to guard Melo?
- Did anyone else know that Mike Miller was still playing in the NBA?