Woodson: Knicks ‘Feel Good’ About Beating Heat in East Finals
Knicks coach Mike Woodson says his team “feels good” about beating the defending NBA champion Miami Heat in a potential matchup in the Eastern Conference Finals.
“If the Miami Heat are the team that we have to play and face, I think our guys feel good about being able to beat them in a seven-game series,” Woodson said Tuesday on ESPN 98.7 New York.
“It’s not going to be easy. I mean, they’re the best team in the league as we speak. And in terms of their play, they’re playing on a high level right now and I’m sure they’ll continue to play that way throughout the rest of the regular season heading into the playoffs.
“But I think if we’re in a seven-game series with them, I truly believe we have an opportunity to beat them.”
The Knicks (32-18) come out of the All-Star break four games behind Miami (36-14) for the No. 1 seed in the East. If the playoffs began now, the two teams would be on a collision course for the Eastern Finals.
New York is 2-0 against Miami this season, having won both games by 20 points, including one meeting in which Carmelo Anthony was sidelined by injury.
The teams have two more meetings, March 3 at Madison Square Garden and April 2 in Miami.
Woodson reiterated that the Knicks don’t plan on making any moves before Thursday’s trade deadline, and said that the Knicks could challenge the Heat without making any trades.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I truly believe that. I mean, we’ve had two games against the Heat where we were very successful. And again, it’s not a seven-game series. But we gotta play the regular season and we’ll see them twice again before we actually start playoff basketball.
“But those two games that we’ve played them so far, I thought we played some of our best basketball as a New York team. And only time will tell. It just remains to be seen.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.