Miami Heat Confidence Meter: 9.7 (You are gonna pay what you owe.)
• So the New York Knicks idea of “physical” playoff play was to foul incessantly and be out of position throughout and clutch and grab at every opportunity. To be fair, the Miami Heat did got away with a lot when guarding Carmelo Anthony, while the Knicks got called for every instance of rough play on LeBron James. You can tell this was the playoffs. Dwyane Wade was suddenly leaping out of the building and playing at a speed that we have seen, only in the, well…playoffs. No player turns it on at a higher level than Dwyane Wade. Makes you feel good that he is on your side. The defensive disposition was at a 10, when it has been at around a 7 for weeks. Can this team just turn it on when it wants too? The answer seems to be yes.
• While Carmelo Anthony was being hounded and shut down by the likes of Shane Battier and James, Amare Stoudemire seemed to have an edge on Udonis Haslem to start the game. Haslem had trouble with Stoudemire’s first dribble and ceded floor space too readily. That of course, drew coach Erik Spoelstra to bring in The Warden to quell any hopes of a offensive source. Yet again, Joel Anthony does what he does to Amare Stoudemire. It is uncanny at this point. Sometimes a player has a mental block against another. Chris Bosh has it with Kevin Garnett, Amare Stoudemire has it with Joel Anthony. Yes, that was Norris Cole checking into the game as a defensive specialist on a Hot and playoff poised Baron Davis (read that line again). That was Norris Cole over-extending a double on Carmelo Anthony and allowing a wide open three from Baron Davis. Coach Spo tried to replicate the earlier success of on the ball pressure defense from Cole and Chalmers on Knicks point guards, and I think that brief experiment might have found its end. Norris Cole played “not to lose” and lacked aggressiveness. He seemed “coached” on what to do.
• So much for all that talk of “Knick fans” coming down to Miami and filling the stands. If there were a couple hundred Knick fans, it was too many. They seemed to occupy the 400 levels, and that suggest that Heat Season Ticket Holders that own “budget” seats, tried to gouge Knick fans to pay for the rest of the playoffs. Smart. Iman Shumpert went down with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. He was taken to an undisclosed “local hospital” but a well placed source tells me that it was Jackson Medical. And that their initial fear is an ACL tear and the end of his rookie season. It is truly a shame and Shumpert is one of the finest young competitors in this game and has a promising career ahead of him.
On another note, the reigning MVP Derrick Rose went down late in a victory over the 76ers and is now diagnosed with a ACL/MCL tear and is out for the rest of the season. An ACL tear at this late a date puts the ensuing season in jeopardy as well. I for one feel for Bulls fans, as no team deserves to have their superstar go down in that fashion, when their team has displayed so much heart and determination for an entire season. We on this site wish him well, for a speedy recovery and a re-initiation into the Bulls/Heat rivalry down the road.
The Heat is home for Game 2 Monday night. Tipoff is at 7:00pm.