Can New York Knicks Challenge Miami Heat For Eastern Conference Supremacy?

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

With the New York Knicks in the midst of a 12-game winning streak and on the heels of an impressive road victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, speculation is again sprouting up about if the Knicks are a threat to the Miami Heat. If the Knicks remain this hot, they just might be.

Even though the Knicks have suffered a couple of injuries, they have rode the hot shooting of Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and others to run off a string of wins and the second seed in the Eastern Conference standings with just a week left in the season. Anthony is averaging 32.7 points on .498 from the field with 8.3 rebounds in 11 games in the streak, while Smith has contributed 23.8 points off the bench during the streak.

Some of the Knicks strengths could potentially give the Heat trouble if they meet in the postseason. The Knicks shoot the ball extremely well from long range, ranking second in the NBA in three point makes and attempts while the Heat are just 21st in the league in opponent three-point makes, meaning that the Heat struggle with an area of strength for the Knicks.

New York also has the interior defenders to challenge LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in the paint. Tyson Chandler is one of the best defenders in the post area and has had success stopping the Heat in the past. Kenyon Martin may be injured right now, but come playoff time he should be back and imposing his tough brand of defense as well.

The Heat still look like the favorites to win the NBA championship this season, but the Knicks have emerged as a legitimate contender by getting hot at the right time. If New York can advance to the Eastern Conference Finals and meet the Heat, on paper the series fits the bill as potentially one of the best match ups possible this year.

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