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Knicks brimming with confidence on eve of Heat series; Dolphins draft reax

Here are some Heat/Knicks playoff notes from Friday’s practices at AA Arena. For our long Dolphins draft post off Day 1, please click on our last post.  We’ll have one more Heat post and one more draft-intensive post in the next 24 hours.

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The Knicks are clear-cut underdogs in their playoff series against the Heat, but New York’s marquee players claim Miami doesn’t possess an advantage in overall talent.

“We have so many threats offensively that match their offensive threats,” Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said. “It’s pretty much even as far as the starting lineups. But our second unit I think is a little bit stronger.”

Forward Amare Stoudemire said “it’s a pretty even match. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are three phenomenal players. We have three players that can match their skill set. Our bench is phenomenal.”

After a preseason game in December, Stoudemire told rookie center Josh Harrelson, an avid outdoorsman: “We’re going to hunt in South Florida. You know what we’re going to hunt down there, right? We’re going to hunt LeBron and D-Wade.”

Stoudemire downplayed that comment Friday, claiming it was off the record. Wade cracked Friday, “Yeah, we played the whole season trying to make sure we play each other in the playoffs.”

Knicks coach Mike Woodson said, “I know my guys can play with this team…. Critics and fans don’t think you can get it done. Something always amazing happens.”

TNT’s Charles Barkley isn’t swayed: “The Knicks can’t beat the Heat,” he said.

### Knicks center Tyson Chandler missed Friday’s practice at AmericanAirlines Arena with flu symptoms. Asked if he may not play, Woodson said “it’s a strong possibility.” But Anthony said he expects him to play. “He’s not eating, chills,” Woodson said. “We’re isolating him a bit from his teammates.”

### The Knicks are 18-6 under Woodson after starting 18-24 under Mike D’Antoni. “We do it on both ends of the court now with a lot more emphasis on defense,” Anthony said. “Everyone knows we can score.”

THIS AND THAT

Chris Bosh, who missed the last six games with a strained hamstring, “is probably not 100 percent but he feels good,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. Bosh said he does not expect to be limited “but there is a period where I have to get those legs back. It’s not just going to happen. I have to be realistic about that.”…. Dwyane Wade said his dislocated finger on his non-shooting hand is “fine.”

### Bosh, James and Wade have not played together as a group since beating the Knicks nearly two weeks ago.  James wasn’t sure if that would affect their rhythm in Game 1. “You don’t know until you get out there,” James said. But Bosh said “we had an opportunity to get that rust off in practice.”

### Wade is pleased the Heat is playing New York because “it’s great to start off with a team that really makes you focus and understand you have to play your best to beat them. It’s going to be a very entertaining series, a physical series. Stars being stars. Some great role players being great role players. It has everything you want. It’s great for the game of basketball.”

### The Knicks have several dangerous three-point shooters – Anthony, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, and the Heat staff has emphasized closing out on the three-point shooters.  Miami was fifth-worst in opponent’s three-point percentage. “We need to do it better,” Wade said. “At times we’ve done it great, at times we haven’t.”

### Joel Anthony appears to have moved ahead of Ronny Turiaf as the first big-man off the bench, but Spoelstra said, “They’ll both be big. I have full confidence Ronny will help us and we need him.”

### Asked memories of the classic Heat-Knicks games of the 1990s, James said,  “The funniest one was looking at Jeff Van Gundy sliding off [Alonzo Mourning’s leg]. ” Wade said, “One of my favorites was Pat Riley went back to the Garden and see him get on the court and celebrate the boos was awesome.”

### Playoff tickets on the secondary market for the series are averaging $330.44 for games at AmericanAirlines Arena and $590.27 at Madison Square Garden, according to Tiqiq.

           

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