After escaping San Antonio with another win, the possibly short-handed Miami Heat will host New York Knicks tonight. The most topical story in the last couple of months has been the Heat and their streak, which the Chicago Bulls ended at 27 straight wins. Tonight Miami will try to play the role of streak-busters themselves.
The Knicks have been on fire lately and are proud owners of the longest currently standing winning streak. Behind several great performances by J.R. Smith, New York has won eight games in a row.
If you look at the stats, it is clear that Miami should be major favorites in this one. The Heat are 32-3 at home this season, a record that is second only to the Denver Nuggets, who have won one more game than the champions. However, the Knicks are among the teams that have beaten the Heat in Miami this season, doing so by 20 points.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers were all listed as injured against the San Antonio Spurs and took sideline seats. It is clear that Erik Spoelstra will be careful with his starters’ minutes up until the playoffs, as staying healthy is the primary objective. If the three players rest again, the Knicks could very well continue their streak.
The game is viewed completely different for both teams. Miami has nothing to play for, while the Knicks are 0.5 games behind Indiana Pacers for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Every remaining game carries significant playoff implications for New York, and they will come out to play tonight.
Vytis Lasaitis is a Miami Heat and NBA columnist for RantSports. You can follow him on Twitter here: @VytisLasaitis