New York vs. Miami: Defend the pick-and-roll and win.
The Miami Heat run devastating pick-and-roll combinations — LeBron James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas have been doing it for years, and now a few times a game LeBron is setting picks for Wade and that can be an unstoppable combination.
After a slow start to the season, the Knicks Raymond Felton/Amare Stoudemire pick-and-roll has become a very efficient weapon. Which shouldn’t be shocking, Stoudemire is the best roll man in the game. He can pop, he is devastating going to the rim. And in vintage Mike D’Antoni style, the Knicks spread the floor around that play with guys who can knock down the open shot on the kick-out when you help off them.
What that means is Friday night at Madison Square Garden — whoever can defend the pick and roll best will probably win.
Kevin Arnovitz breaks it down fantastically at ESPN’s Heat Index.
So far this season, the Heat have defended the pick-and-roll ball handler well — he is shooting 38.5 percent — but the roll man is having considerably more success when he gets the ball back, shooting 51.9 percent.
On the season, the Knicks have held the pick-and-roll ball handler to 43.7 percent shooting, while the roll man is shooting 50 percent even. (Stats via Synergy Sports.)
There are going to be a lot of pick-and-rolls tonight. The team that defends that better — and defends better in transition — will get the win.