Q: Which Heat team will show up against the Knicks? 1) Beginning-of-season under-.500 Heat? 2) Midseason 20-11 team with good defense but can’t score? 3) Down-the-stretch Heat that can shoot again, but has poor defense? 4) Bucks killer? Do you have a crystal ball, because how do you know which one? – Morgan, New Orleans.
A: I’m of the belief of different horses for different courses. So I’m not sure much of anything from the Bucks series carries over, because of the sharp contrasts between the Bucks and Knicks. I’m also not sure much carries over from the regular season, because all of that came with Tyler Herro in the mix. So again, seemingly as always with this team, it comes down to Jimmy Butler. And, to me, it comes down to Jimmy Butler having to be better than Jalen Brunson for the Heat to maximize their chances.
Q: Now we will see if Bam Adebayo can play against a real center. Mitchell Robinson has been great for New York. — Shappy.
A: But I’m not sure how much of that matchup will be head-to-head, with Kevin Love likely opening defensively against Mitchell Robinson. It will be Love’s rebounding that will be crucial against Robinson. And it will be the Heat’s team rebounding that will be crucial against the Knicks’ team rebounding.
Q: Ira, you were there. Why not more of the rivalry? This is Heat-Knicks. — Edwin.
A: Because the most recent previous Heat-Knicks playoff game of consequence was in 2000. So unless a 3-year-old Bam Adebayo was throwing his binkie at the television as Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson were squaring off, it was another time, another era. I don’t see Marcus Camby and Voshon Lenard having much impact in this series.