We won’t get P.J. Brown picking up Charlie Ward and tossing him around. We’re not going to get Jeff Van Gundy clinging to Alonzo Mourning’s leg. We’re not going to get roundball rock intros.
Still, there will be echoes of the 1990s Sunday when the Knicks and Heat tip off Game 1 of their second-round series. We should see as grinding, defensive a series as there will be in the 2020s, a series where scores may regularly be below 100. This is old school, with Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau trying to slow down his former star Jimmy Butler, plus two franchises that genuinely hate each other. This is going to be fun.
Here are three things to watch that will decide this showdown between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks.
1) Can Julius Randle play? How mobile is he?
While he is officially “questionable” for Game 1, the Knicks are not going to tell us anything real about Randle’s status until they absolutely have to. And even then, don’t bet on the truth. What we know as of this writing are two things:
• Randle did not go through a full practice on Friday, he did some shooting, some lifting and some pool cardio. Thibodeau said of Randle, “We’re not going to put him in harm’s way.”
• The Knicks will not advance without a strong series from Randle… unless RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and others step up in his place.
Randle put up 43 in one regular season game against the Heat including hitting an insane game-winning 3.
Randle is a tough matchup for Miami, and New York needs him. Randle’s mindset is that he will be out there if he can walk, and even if he misses the first game or two he will play in this series. The questions are how effectively, will he play when he does step on the court, and can the Knicks depth fill in the gaps? Jalen Brunson will get his, but if Randle isn’t dropping 43 then Barrett, Quickley and others need to step up.
Oh, and Jalen Brunson. But at this point, isn’t it almost a given that he is going to be spectacular? We’ve just come to expect it.
2) Can Playoff Jimmy Butler do it again?
Jimmy Butler was the MVP of the first round. It wasn’t even close. He…
Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/three-things-watch-miami-heat-230448744.html?src=rss
Author : NBC Sports
Publish date : 2023-04-29 23:04:48
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