The New York Knicks will host the Miami Heat on Wednesday night as Joakim Noah emerges post-suspension and Hornacek talks free agency.
- New York Knicks (28-46)
- Miami Heat (36-38)
- Wednesday, March 29, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York City
ESPN’s Forecast panel came out with their annual front office rankings on Tuesday, and the New York Knicks were ranked in exactly the right spot. Dead last. Their opponent on Wednesday night, the Miami Heat, were ranked fifth in the same category.
Pat Riley has led that franchise to three championships since taking over as team president amid controversy back in 1995. ESNY’s Rob Sabo wrote about the difference between Riley and Knicks President Phil Jackson in early March.
Jackson’s Knicks play the first game of a home-and-home set against Riley’s Heat. The teams have already matched up once this season, a New York win.
That was way back in Dec. when Miami was awful, and it looked like they were heading for a sure lottery pick. They went on a 13 game win streak, and now they’re the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat have one of the best defenses in the NBA. They’re ranked fifth in defensive rating and fourth in opponent’s effective field goal percentage. The Knicks will have trouble keeping up with intensity.
Hassan Whiteside is going to be a problem for the Knicks. He leads the league in rebounding (14.2) and is scoring a career-high 16.9 points per game. Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez will have their hands full.
The Joakim Noah situation took a strange turn on Tuesday. It became clear that the Knicks are attempting to rush him back so he can serve part of his 20-game suspension during what’s left of the 2016-17 season.
Noah apologized to the fans for his “mistake” after appearing at practice on Tuesday.
“I made a mistake. It was a tough year for me, for this team,” Noah said after returning to practice Tuesday. “… I let a lot of people down. It was a mistake. And I gotta learn from it and bounce back. This is a tough moment and I’m going to learn from it.”
Noah implied that the drug he tested positive for was something he was taking to rehab from injury.
“I tried to take a supplement to help me with everything that I was going through,” Noah said, intimating that he took it while rehabbing from a hamstring injury he suffered in early February. “I’ve gone through a lot of injuries and I tried to take something to help me and it backfired.
Per Begley, if Noah is cleared by doctors for Wednesday’s game he’ll begin serving his suspension.
This wasn’t the only off the court news of the day. Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek made some headlines when he said that his team could “use some more defensive players.”
Hornacek told Ian Begley of ESPN that the front office has it under control. Try not to laugh at that.
“I think if you look at our defense this year, we can use some more defensive players,” Hornacek said. “[Management] will look at that. [General manager] Steve [Mills] and [president] Phil [Jackson] and those guys will look at whatever can help us out. We know we need some help there.”