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New York Knicks are in the middle of a second round Eastern Conference battle against a team coached by arguably the best zone defensive mind in the NBA. Erik Spoelstra has been in his bag defensively and the Knicks are being sped up on offense. Offensive composure against a stingy and hostile Miami Heat 2-3 zone is crucially necessary.
Miami Heat’s Defensive & Offensive Interoperability Plus Defensive Connectivity Causing Knicks Fits.
Everybody and their cousins know Quentin Grimes should be in the starting lineup instead of Josh Hart, everybody except for Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau. Or maybe the coach does know, but refuse to tinker with the lineup once again for unknown reasons. In a nutshell, it’s hard to understand why Coach Tom Thibodeau continues to start Josh Hart instead of Quentin Grimes knowing this current Knicks starting lineup plays into Coach Erik Spoelstra’s defensive hand, in terms of doubling off a below average perimeter threat, whether it’s Josh Hart or RJ Barrett. This only puts more defenders in front of Jalen Brunson & Julius Randle, which makes things even more difficult than it has to be for the Knicks offense.
Erik Spoelstra’s 2-3 zone defense has some kick to it because the two Heat defenders at the top of the zone share ball pressure responsibility, which can cause confusion for opposing offenses. Sometimes Miami causes even more defensive chaos by having two defenders full court press and trap the opposing ball handler before slightly falling back into their semi-aggressive 2-3 zone with continued stifling ball pressure on the perimeter.
Heat players such as Gabe Vincent, Caleb Martin, Jimmy Butler, Max Strus, Kyle Lowry, Haywood Highsmith and even their weakest defender Duncan Robinson are playing interchangeable aggressive defense under Spoelstra’s coaching staff. Duncan Robinson of course gets to hide on the back end of the 2-3 zone. The Miami Heat is an average man to man defensive team, therefore, Coach Spoelstra has turned their slight disadvantage into a strength by having his guys play team committee defense. The harmony on the defensive end of the floor for the Heat has been impressive, but it has also been frustrating for Knick fans to stomach the chaos it’s providing for the Knicks isolation heavy offense.
Offensive Poise Will Be Highly Necessary For Knicks To Overcome Miami Heat This Series.
Sergeant Julius Randle must gather the troops and tell them “slow down soldiers, keep your composure” and to Knick fans that would be close to a miracle due to Randle’s erratic offensive play. Knicks are turning the ball over due to unforced errors all because they’re allowing the Heat’s aggressive and disruptive defense to speed them up. Patient, high IQ ball movement will be the way to beat Miami’s zone defense. Throwing the ball to Randle in the post and spreading out for isolation will not get it done this series. It’s Tom Thibodeau’s turn to make an adjustment against Erik Spoelstra’s disruptive, scrappy zone defense and full court traps.