LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers will not play tonight against the New York Knicks.
That same trio sat out the Miami Heat’s last game against the San Antonio Spurs, and speculation arose that the benching was in retaliation to Gregg Popovich’s decision to sit Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobli on November 29th against Miami.
All of them are listed as day-to-day- James with a hamstring injury, and Chalmers and Wade with ankle injuries- but it has been announced that they will sit for the second straight game as their team takes on the surging Knicks.
The Heat are 1-2 against New York this season, winning the most recent contest but getting blown out by 20 points in each of the first two match-ups. Many feel that the Indiana Pacers are Miami’s top threat in the Eastern Conference, but this decision to sit two of the best players in the league (James, Wade) against a rival proves that the Heat fear the Knicks.
New York has won eight straight games despite not having some of their best players- Amar’e Stoudemire is out for the rest of the season, and Tyson Chandler, who could return tonight, has missed 10 consecutive games with a neck injury.
Despite the never-ending injuries, the Knicks are dangerous.
Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith are playing outrageous basketball right now. Smith is scoring 25 points per game over the course of this winning streak, including three straight 30+ point performances off the bench. Anthony has been sensational during the winning streak as well, and has been right on point of his season scoring average (27.5 PPG).
The Heat are wise to sit their stars against the Knicks- why would they play James and Wade if they have nothing left to gain? Miami has already clinched the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but they are already showing a weaker side of themselves. The Heat don’t want the Knicks to get a fourth look at their squad at full strength as they go into the play-offs, or have the chance to gain any confidence against the reigning champs going forward.
The Heat are afraid of New York, whether or not they admit it. And they have every reason to be- the Knicks are coming; this is their time.