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After coming up short in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks, the Miami Heat will get a second chance to clinch the series Wednesday night at home. New York will be playing for its second playoff win in 12 years, as well as an extension of a tumultuous season.
The Miami Heat faded down the stretch in Sunday's loss at Madison Square Garden, but they do not seem terribly worried about their predicament. "We went through this last year," head coach Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday. "It's not even abnormal for us. If we lose, we expect the decibel level to raise, and we've developed an ability to compartmentalize and focus on what really matters and what's real."
"We just have to be more aggressive and stay poised," Chris Bosh added. "[The Knicks] are going to go down swinging. We have to stay tough mentally."
Miami has plenty of opportunities for improvement on their Game 4 performance. The Heat shot just 41% from the field, including an abysmal 3 of 19 from three-point range. Miami also missed 11 of 35 free throws, and allowed New York's Carmelo Anthony to explode for 41 points.
While the Heat can't specifically plan to improve their outcomes from three-point range or the charity stripe, Spoelstra did intimate one big change with regards to Anthony. LeBron James might take on the responsibility of defending Anthony late in Game 5 if the score is close.
“LeBron will have an impact defensively in the fourth quarter if it’s close," Spoelstra said. "There’s no doubt about that.”
The Knicks will be without PG Baron Davis, who dislocated his right kneecap on Sunday. He is the second starter lost to injury in the series, after Iman Shumpert tore his ACL in Game 1.
New York coach Mike Woodson also quashed all speculation that sensation point guard Jeremy Lin might return for Game 5, saying Tuesday that he will not return from an April 2 knee surgery at all this series, even if it goes to seven games. Woodson said Lin shot around Tuesday "but he's just not physically ready to play."
With the Indiana Pacers finishing off the Orlando Magic in their first-round series Tuesday, the Heat's Eastern Conference Semifinal opponent is now waiting, so long as they can finish off the Knicks on Wednesday.
Tipoff is at 7 pm.