The Knicks host the Miami Heat in their final head-to-head matchup of the broken season while the Heat look to stay in the playoff picture and the ‘Bockers continue to evaluate young talent.
The New York Knicks (27–51) host the Miami Heat (43–36) at the Garden on Friday night, with a chance to split the season series in the teams’ fourth, and final, matchup of the season. Miami currently sits at the sixth spot in the playoff picture, but just one game ahead of both Washington and Milwaukee. The Knicks will be looking to rebound from an embarrassing 97–73 home loss (their fourth defeat in a row) to Orlando on Tuesday that triggered major boos from the crowd. The Heat, meanwhile, are coming off their most lopsided victory of the season, a 115–86 beat down in Atlanta on Wednesday.
Some thoughts and notes ahead of the action
It’s fair to wonder, does either team want to win this game?
The Knicks are obviously in full-tank mode, currently tied with Chicago for the league’s eight- worst record (tanking is dark, man). Miami, on the other hand, would seemingly much rather face an injury-riddled Celtics team in the first round of the playoffs than LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Erik Spoelstra employed some questionable late-game tactics.
For the injury report, Dwyane Wade (wrist, elbow), Goran Dragic (ankle, knee), and James Johnson (ankle) are all questionable for Miami while and Enes Kanter (back, wrist) and Michael Beasley (illness) are questionable for the Knicks. April basketball is rough.
Frank Ntilikina got his fifth start of the season on Tuesday, and had an up-and-down game:
Still, I’d like to see him start for the rest of the season. Him and Trey Burke have a nice matchup against a depleted Heat backcourt. Emmanuel Mudiay has cooled off after a couple promising showings off the bench. Either him or Frank need to provide something on offense for the Knicks to stay competitive.
It’s the final Friday Night Knicks of the year, rejoice!
Check out the tank standings to close out the year, courtesy of Knicks Film School: