The struggling Miami Heat face the New York Knicks tonight at Madison Square Garden in a bid to get back to winning ways. The Knicks, meanwhile, will be hoping they can register their fourth win on the bounce.
The New York Knicks, on the other hand, defeated the shorthanded Milwaukee Bucks 102-96 in their last game, as RJ Barrett and Alec Burks scored 21 points each.
Fixture: Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Monday, March 29, 2021; 7:30 PM ET (Tuesday, March 30th; 5:00 AM IST).
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY.
Miami Heat Preview
The Miami Heat haven't been in the best of form and have now recorded six straight losses. But most of these were close encounters, and the Heat are expected to do much better when they face the Knicks tonight.
The Miami Heat will be without several players for this game, though. The likes of Kendrick Nunn, new signing Victor Oladipo, KZ Okpala and Udonis Haslem have all been ruled out, while Goran Dragic is listed as probable and Gabe Vincent is listed as day-to-day.
The only positive news as of now is that the new addition, Nemanja Bjelica, will likely make his debut for the franchise tonight.
The Heat have been one of the weakest offensive teams this season and will be keen to improve their performance on that front. Bjelica could be vital in helping them do that.
Key Player - Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler has been the Miami Heat's most relied upon player so far. The Heat have previously been in a similar position to what they are in right now, and it was Butler who helped them get out of it back then.
He will be eager to replicate those heroics yet again, as any further losses could dent the Miami Heat's chances of qualifying directly for the playoffs.
Apart from leading the charge offensively, Butler's services will be required on the defensive end as well, as he will be going up against the likes of RJ Barrett and Julius Randle (if available).
The New York Knicks star duo have been in great form lately, something Butler will be mindful of. If he does manage to limit their threat, the Heat will gain a huge boost in completing the season series sweep over their conference rivals.
Point Guard - Gabe Vincent l Shooting Guard - Duncan Robinson l Small Forward - Jimmy Butler l Power Forward - Trevor Ariza l Center - Bam Adebayo.
New York Knicks Preview
The New York Knicks didn't quite get the start they were looking for post the All-Star break, but have compensated well for it in recent weeks. As a result, they have now won four of their last five games, winning the last three games on the bounce.
The last game saw the likes of Derrick Rose and Nerlens Noel return to the lineup, which has now bolstered the side even more. However, Mitchell Robinson suffered a broken foot, which could keep him out of action indefinitely.
The New York Knicks, just like their opponents, have also been poor offensively and will be counting on their defensive unit to help them see the game through.
Key Player - RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett has stepped up his performances at a crucial juncture for the New York Knicks. With Randle potentially out of the game, the onus will once again be on the sophomore to lead his side to a win against the underwhelming Miami Heat.
Averaging 21.7 points, 6.7 boards and four assists per game in his last 10 outings, Barrett has quickly turned his sub-par start to the season around.
His shooting has also improved lately, giving the New York Knicks a great deal of help offensively and helping them reduce their woes on that front.
If Barrett gets going, it won't be an easy night for the Miami Heat.
Point Guard - Elfrid Payton l Shooting Guard - Alec Burks l Small Forward - RJ Barrett l Power Forward - Taj Gibson l Center - Nerlens Noel.
Heat vs. Knicks Match Prediction
The New York Knicks seem like the favorites to win this tie, owing to their better form and squad depth compared to the Miami Heat. Nonetheless, the Heat are a gritty side, which the Knicks should be mindful of heading into this matchup.
It will be interesting to see how two of the best defensive sides in the league matchup against each other.
Where to watch Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks?
The game between the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks will be televised locally on MSG and Fox Sports Sun. Fans can also live stream the game via the NBA League Pass.