NBA Preview: Knicks at Heat - Sportsrageous

In one of the final NBA games before the All-Star break, the Miami Heat will face the New York Knicks at home.

There could not be a better match up for one of the last games before the midpoint of the season.

Surely, by now one is familiar with Jeremy Lin; it's his presence in New York that has revitalized the team and the city. He's led the Knicks to win 9 of the last 11, including a 7-game win-streak that started this "Linsanity" craze; currently the biggest story in sports. During over half of these 11 games, the Knicks have played without all-stars Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, however, the whole team is healthy and ready to go now. This makes the Knicks very dangerous. Their team now consists of two perennially all-stars (Anthony and Stoudemire), a huge defensive presence (Chandler), newly acquired J.R. Smith, a healthy Baron Davis, young athletic guards in Fields and Shumpert, and, of course, the player with arguably the brightest future in the NBA, Jeremy Lin.  With play-makers, young talent, and superstars, the Knicks look to make a run in the playoffs this year and many years to come. They sit at .500 on the season(17-17), and have the chance to go into the All-Star break with a winning record. That is if they can beat the Miami Heat.

Now we all know about the Miami Heat. They are led by the big three, in LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. They currently have the best record in the NBA (26-7) and are stronger than ever. Wade has been fighting injuries all season, however, he is back, healthy, and playing out of his mind. This has lead to a Heat winning streak of 7 in a row, which is the longest current winning streak in the NBA. With that said, this game is big for the Heat. They could go into the break on an 8 game winning streak, having defeated the Knicks, who many think will be an up and coming force in the Eastern Conference. If the Heat prove they can beat the Knicks, they will have one less team to worry about in the Eastern Conference. The Heat are heavy favorites to return to the NBA championship this year, with most people picking them to win it all. However, if they lose tonight, they go into the All-Star break snapping their winning streak, and possibly messing with their heads. There was a streak last season where the Heat couldn't seem to close out a game, and it's proven to be a weakness of theirs. Will it creep up on them again?

This game will be nationally televised on TNT tonight at 7:00pm EST. Tune in for one of the most intriguing and important match-ups of the year.

24 Feb, 2012

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