- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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WHERE CARMELO CAN EXCEL: This season, Carmelo Anthony's had success shooting from distance against LeBron James. He's averaging four makes from beyond the arc in the two regular-season games he's played against the Heat this year. Anthony's also shot extremely well from 3-point range of late, hitting 46 percent of his attempts in April. If he can continue that in the postseason, it would keep James far from the rim and could open up opportunities for other Knicks.
Anthony's also drawn fouls at a high rate against James, getting to the line eight times per 36 minutes this season when James is on the floor. All of those fouls weren't drawn on James, but if Anthony can get James in foul trouble, obviously, it would be ideal for the Knicks.
If Anthony can get to the line and consistently knock down open looks, it will force the Heat to throw other defenders at him. If this happens, the Knicks' ability to take advantage of the hole this creates will be key.
"All of those little intricacies will be crucial, especially in a seven-game series," a scout said.
WHERE CARMELO MAY STRUGGLE: Guarding King James. When Anthony's committed to playing defense, he can get stops. When he isn't, he can hurt the Knicks. You can be sure that he'll play with intensity in his matchup with James, whom he's gone toe-to-toe with since high school. But if he's not on top of his game defensively, the Knicks are in trouble. Particularly if Anthony allows James to get to the rim. This would suck the Knicks' defense in and create open looks for James' teammates. Also, it may cause Anthony to get in foul trouble. If this happens, obviously, the Knicks offense would be severely compromised.
On a positive note, James has shot just 46 percent when Anthony's on the floor this season, more than 10 percent less than his season average.
"It's almost a wash," one scout said about the James-Anthony matchup. "They're both so good offensively, I don't think either once can stop the other one on one. I think LeBron has a slightly better chance because he's more gifted defensively and takes more pride in his defense."
ADVANTAGE: Heat. LeBron's defense gives Miami the edge.
Stats courtesy of NBA.com
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