MIAMI (AP) If the numbers are to be believed, then the New York Knicks' season is about to end. Of the other 101 teams to lose the first three games in a best-of-seven NBA series, none ultimately prevailed and only 10 managed to stave off elimination twice.
That doesn't mean the Miami Heat are leaving anything to chance.
For the past two days, the Heat have stewed over and stared at the tape of what went wrong at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, when a litany of things - 11 missed free throws, 16 missed 3-pointers, two blown double-digit leads, giving up a 19-2 run in the third quarter and having all that capped by a botched play at the end of regulation - added up to an 89-87 loss that extended the Knicks' season.
When the teams' Eastern Conference first-round series resumes Wednesday night, the Heat expect to be sharper.
''You carry it with you 24 hours, you go over what needs to be done, you correct it and you get rid of it,'' Heat forward LeBron James said. ''That's not saying that you don't care about it but you've got to move on to the next game. You can't let it linger too much and carry that game into Game 5. So Game 4 for us is over. We're preparing for Game 5 now.''
Miami leads the best-of-seven 3-1, and needs only a home win Wednesday for a ticket to the East semifinals.
According to STATS LLC, seven teams rallied from down 3-0 in a series before losing in six games, and other three extended things all the way to Game 7 before succumbing.
''That's the exciting part for me,'' said Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who carried New York with 41 points - the most from anyone yet in this postseason - in Game 4. ''I mean, history is definitely not on our side right now. But we believe and we're confident that we want to go down there and win this basketball game and bring it back here. We get this one, who knows what can happen.''
Of course, not only are the Knicks dealing with long odds, they're doing so with a short bench.
Iman Shumpert tore a knee ligament in Game 1, and Baron Davis left Game 4 with a catastrophic knee injury - dislocated kneecap, two torn ligaments and a torn tendon. Shumpert won't play for months, Davis is out at least a year, and the Knicks ended speculation Tuesday by saying Jeremy Lin's recovery from knee surgery will not allow him to play in the rest of the series against Miami regardless of how long it goes.
''If he's not ready to go based on how he's feeling, we've got to respect that and move on,'' Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson said.
Amare Stoudemire returned for Game 4 after slicing open his left hand by striking a metal-and-glass case holding a fire extinguisher moments after the Knicks dropped the second game of the series.
At the time, the odds of him and the Knicks playing again in Miami didn't look good. But here they are, and Stoudemire spent part of Tuesday saying how his team has a chance ''to do something special.''
''I just don't want to look at that fire extinguisher at all,'' Stoudemire said. ''But getting a win in Miami would be huge for us.''
The Knicks know exactly what to expect from the Heat. The Heat can't say the same about the Knicks, given how the absence of Shumpert and now Davis will lead to probably some unconventional lineup choices by Woodson at times.
''They'll bring something different so we've got to be prepared, in a sense like it's a regular-season game,'' Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. ''It'll be a little tougher. Five games in, everyone pretty much knows each other's offensive package a little bit. You can throw a couple wrinkles in but you kind of get to the point now where you start to know what guys are going to do.''
So it'll likely be Mike Bibby starting at the point for the Knicks in Game 5, which happened only four times in the regular season. Bibby was 6-for-40 - 15 percent - from the field in fourth quarters this season, including playoffs, before hitting a 3-pointer that gave New York an 84-81 lead with 1:23 left Sunday.
If Davis hadn't gotten hurt, Bibby might never have gotten the chance to make that shot, especially if Woodson had gone with his instinct to have J.R. Smith at the point down the stretch.
''Then I never would have seen the big shot that Bibby hit, if I had done that,'' Woodson said.
That shot was almost forgotten when Sunday's game ended, first because of a shot-clock-winding-down 3-pointer by Anthony over Shane Battier with 54 seconds left to play that gave New York the lead, and then how Wade lost the ball briefly before missing a 3 of his own on the final play of the game.
''Without getting too descriptive on what we were looking for, at the end of the day we had an open lane on that drive,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''We've seen Dwyane make those plays time and time again over the years. We'll live with that. In the paint he lost the dribble, but it was a pretty good opportunity to attack the rim. But it became a broken play and we know what happened from there.''
Keys To The Game
Transition Defense- we cannot let them get easy buckets
Rebounding- No 2nd chance points
Runs- Miami thrives off of consecutive 7-0 runs, we have to limit that
Weather The Storm- we dont win the game in the 1st half but like Game 1 we can lose it, stay poised and under control
3 Point Shooting- We need to hit at least 7 3's to win, JR, Novak, Bibby, Toney and Melo should all hit 1 and 2 of them should hit 2
Defense- Everyone has to defend
Movement- Both ball and player movement
Key Matchup http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/...n/CA-LBJ-1.jpg
In my eyes LeBron dont wanna deal with a hot Carmelo, but I think this game LeBron takes the challenge of defending Carmelo in the 2nd half. If Carmelo can impose his will on LeBron the Knicks have a great shot at winning this game
Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony dominate in the paint, JR Smith goes for 15 and Novak hits 3 3's, Miami maintains a small lead up until the 4th where the Knicks come through when it matters most, instead of Wade taking the last shot they go to LeBron who back rims a fade away jumper with Landry Fields defending him, Knicks win 93-91
The rest of the team will get back to their April form!
Go Knicks!!! Yeah!!!!
May 09, 2012, 03:35
Throw realism to the wind, I believe! We can take this game.
May 09, 2012, 04:03
Knicks should come out ready from the get go. After 3 days of rest the HEAT are going to be firing on all cylinders. I'm sure they'll go out and lead us by 10 pts or so but the Knicks should just keep fighting and not fall in love with the three ball when they lock up the paint.
May 09, 2012, 04:11
With a win in Game 4, all pressure's off. Got that monkey off the back. If they lose, I wouldnt be terribly dissappointed but a win tonight would be a bonus!
May 09, 2012, 05:12
Nuggets avoid 1st-round elimination, surviving Kobe's 43-point game for 102-99 win in Game 5
The Denver Nuggets plastered Andrew Bynum's words all over their locker room and across their minds, drawing fiery inspiration from the Lakers centre's declaration that closeout playoff games are sometimes easy when an opponent quits.
"That's true, closeouts can be easy," Bryant said. "Tonight wasn't one of those nights. ... Did it pump them up? Probably. You never want to give anybody bulletin board material, but if you're going to be a champion, you've got to play through things like that."
God I wish we have this kind of inspiration for game 5, 6 and 7!! :)
May 09, 2012, 08:42
Nice game thread up super early. Long odds but we come out hard tonight and get this series back to NY. In MELO we trust and STAT needs another 20/10. We need a third scorer. Calling JR, we need your hot hand tonight. Stuck at work but will have the game on. Go Knicks!
May 09, 2012, 09:23
Get a win boys..... Get a gritty, hard fought win and make us and yourselves proud!
May 09, 2012, 10:01
Nice GT.. love the optimism.
I want Woody to work his magic and show all the doubters out there that he's worthy of a long-term contract.
May 09, 2012, 10:09
Good GT, repped. ;)
May 09, 2012, 10:12
This will need to be a really gutsy win for the knicks. On the road, against a team that is focused and sharp. they will be on their A game.
That intensity may actually work against them however. Being too hyped in a game can lead to T.O's and bad play making. We all have seen how LeBron does when the intensity is turned up, so it'll be important to get into him early and often. We also need to shut down Bosh. He was killing us in the first half of game 4 but was taken out of his game in the 2nd half.
Wade will do what wade does but I have seen a lot of maturing out of Fields and I think he can make wade play an honest game. If we can keep Wade from getting to the rim with good D out front and Tyson playing big down low we can squeak out the win in Miami. Then it's back to the Garden where the Knicks can make anything happen.
I will have to watch this on an adth feed as i don't get the TNT broadcasts. I hate watching on my computer. Next year i'll be buying a League Pass package.
May 09, 2012, 10:40
Repped, nice thread. Just want the team to play with energy and give a decent effort tonight.
May 09, 2012, 10:41
Real NY Baller
Just go out there and play the best ball you can. As long as we leave it all on the floor...I'll be happy with the results. Beating the Heat with our beat up team would be sweet.