The Miami Heat don’t have long to recoup from their devastating blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder because they are taking on a resurgent New Yorks Knicks squad that has won four of their last five games. Over that five-game span, Carmelo Anthony has been on an absolute tear, averaging 35.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Anthony also had a 62-point game which is the most a player has scored this season.
Miami, and especially LeBron James‘, main priority in this matchup is shutting down Anthony. Every player outside of Anthony for the Knicks has been atrocious this season leading to one of the worst offensive teams in the league, ranking 22nd in the with only 97 points per game. The best defense against a team where there is one primary scorer is the double team. As soon as Anthony gets the ball the Heat need to have a team effort in terms of keeping him contained. Anthony, very similar to Kevin Durant offensively, can score from anywhere on the court, sometimes even when double-teamed. It will be up to LeBron to communicate with his teammates when to double on Anthony and when to guard Anthony one-on-one.
This game could be a repeat of their first match-up where Anthony had 29 points, eight points and five assists and New York won by 10 points, but I highly doubt LeBron is going give Anthony any room to operate once he gets the ball in his hands. Expect pressure defense from Miami right at the start of tip-off. The real question is whether that type of fast-paced defensive intensity can be sustained throughout the course of 48 minutes. Only the final score will tell.