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The Heat won all three match-ups against the Knicks in the regular season, but it is hard to draw too many conclusions about those games. One win came before the Knicks had "discovered" Jeremy Lin, another came with Amar'e Stoudemire sitting out with an injury.
In 2011 the Heat approached the playoffs with hopes of silencing their critics and playing spoiler to the legions of NBA fans rooting against them. This year they will have a different approach.
"Last year we played to shut everybody up and to prove people wrong instead of playing to win a championship," Dwyane Wade said this week. "We should have played the way we had our whole lives - to raise the trophy up and be called champions. We didn't have that mindset. That's different now."
The most intriguing match-up to watch in the series will be Chris Bosh against New York center Tyson Chandler. Bosh's performance has been a huge indicator of the Heat's fortunes (in two seasons the team is 19-3 when he scores 20 points, and 39-10 when he gets 10 rebounds).
"I think I have that wild-card effect," Bosh said this week. "I can lay in the weeds and we can maybe win or maybe not. But if I have a good game, our records are winning ones."
Chandler will not be the main defender on Bosh, but will have to rotate to Bosh on screens. Bosh is athletic enough to blow by Chandler if he commits to a pump fake, and has enough range to hit a jumper if Chandler is slow to react. Miami will look to exploit this match-up early in games to set the tone.
Also interesting will be the show-down between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Anthony scored 42 points when the Heat beat the Knicks on April 15, but once James began defending Melo in the fourth quarter, he was effectively shut down. In the final six minutes, Anthony shot just 1-of-5, after shooting 60% in the previous 3 and 1/2 quarters.
It has been quite awhile since the Miami Heat and New York Knicks faced off in a playoff series. So long, in fact, that Dwyane Wade was a freshman at Marquette University at the time. But fans never forget a rivalry, and they are highly anticipating this match-up.
According to TiqIQ.com, the average price for a ticket in the secondary market is $454.61. The average price for Saturday's Game 1 in Miami is $300.12, the 11th highest average priced home game this season.
The schedule for the entire series is below:
Game 1: Saturday, April 28, 3:30
Game 2: Monday, April 30, 7:00
Game 3: Thursday, May 3, 7:00
Game 4: Sunday, May 6, 3:30
Game 5 (if necessary): Wednesday, May 9, TBD
Game 6 (if necessary): Friday, May 11, TBD
Game 7 (if necessary): Sunday, May 13, TBD