The Miami Heat begin a six-game road trip along the Eastern seaboard with back-to-back games in the Big Apple. The defending champions will take on the New York Knicks Thursday night and then stroll over to the Barclays Center for a battle with the battered Brooklyn Nets on Friday. Although both the Knicks and Nets have dealt with injuries and spectacles all season, leading to their disappointing records, the Heat can’t afford to take either team lightly.
The Knicks still have a prolific scorer in Carmelo Anthony and can threaten the Heat’s current three-game win streak. The supporting cast around Anthony is the biggest question for New York as injuries and immaturity have plagued the team. J.R. Smith was finally fined $50,000 for his “unsportsmanlike conduct” of shoe untying, and injuries have ravaged Metta World Peace, Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin. To be honest, this is exactly the type of game that Miami has been known to come out flat in and dig themselves a hole early. The champs will have to stay focused and throw the knockout punch early against the Knicks.
As for Brooklyn, stupidity and injuries have also ran wild all over the team. First-year head coach Jason Kidd has started his stint with a D.W.I and suspension, a purposely spilled drink in the middle of a game and the circus surrounding Lawrence Frank. Injuries have taken away Brook Lopez for the season, and Deron Williams continues to miss games due to chronic ankle problems. With all that being said, this still isn’t a guaranteed win for Miami. The Nets are still chock full of veterans and big names like Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Pierce and Garnett both know how to beat the Heat, so once again they will need to play a strong game.
This is not an easy back-to-back for Miami and it is unknown if Dwyane Wade will play both. What we do know is the Heat will be without Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers against the Knicks. That is a big loss for the NBA champions, and they will need some player to step up. Despite the poor records of the Nets and Knicks, these are both going to be fun games to watch.