- Offense: 2
- Defense: 12
- Overall: 4
- Offense: 3
- Defense: 20
- Overall: 6
The Knicks sit on top of the East right now, but tonight represents their biggest test since opening night (when they dismantled this same Heat squad). Not a lot of analysis is required for the Heat. Suffice to say that if the Knicks rotate and/or get back on D like they did last night, they will lose. By a lot.
Surprisingly, the Heat rank 20th in defensive efficiency? Why? The numbers indicate that:
- The Heat are dead last in second chance points;
- On the 4 factors front they’re 18th in opponent’s TO rate and 21st in opponent’s eFG%, meaning they don’t seem to do a good job of chasing teams off the 3 point line – which will play into the Knicks’ main strength;
- Indeed the Heat rank dead last in pace adjusted opponents’ 3 point attempts. Again, this will only matter if the 3s keep falling (and none other than Pat Riley once called them “fool’s gold”);
- So, the Knicks might shoot a lot of 3s (again, but especially tonight). Interestingly, and for whatever its worth, the Heat’s opponents’ 3PT% from the corners ranks 6th worse in the league; while their opponents’ 3PT% from above the break ranks 8th best.
Entering tonight’s game, the Knicks have been a very good team on offense and the Heat haven’t been a good defensive team. So something’s gotta give. But we wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it if it turns out that what gives is the Knick offense. With Melo ailing and with the Knicks coming into Miami on the second night of a back-to-back the stars don’t exactly seem aligned tonight. Charles Barkley may crow, but pay him no mind. NBA champions don’t get crowned on December 6th.
Offense, defense and overall rankings are based on ORtg, DRtg, and John Hollinger’s Power Rankings, respectively. Hollinger’s method.
Source: NBA.com/stats; Espn.com