WHERE DAVIS CAN EXCEL: Baron Davis can use his 6-3, 215-pound body to keep Mario Chalmers at bay, allowing him more visibility to see the court and set up his teammates, especially off of the pick-and-roll. In addition, his size will be able to get him into the paint several times during the game and make plays closer to the basket, especially getting Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler feeds inside. Also, because the Heat are one of the worst teams defending 3-pointers -- they try to leverage their athleticism on the wings to create turnovers and fireworks in the open court, but when their energy is sapped, their perimeter rotations slack -- Davis should get some open outside looks and knock them down (he's a career 32.0 percent from downtown). Overall, while Davis is lacking some explosiveness due to his sore right hamstring, he's a veteran and crafty playmaker-- he's been to the playoffs six times -- who will help the Knicks' young guys maintain their composure during a very intense series, whether he's playing or on the bench. His keen eye and wise words will come in handy.
WHERE DAVIS MAY STRUGGLE: Two main things, with the first being his health. While Davis will be able to put in strong first quarters, which he's been doing lately, he'll sore right hamstring will get the better of him as the game progresses, especially because it's the playoffs where the intensity and physical contact will be much higher. Speaking to this point -- this is the second thing -- the Heat's pick-and-roll defense is one of the best in the league. Their perimeter athleticism is just too good, anchored by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. And don't forget about center Joel Anthony, who moves in every direction like a crab. He's the most underrated element of the Heat's P&R D. The Heat have a defensive system that thrives on air-tight rotations and aggressively disrupting the pick-and-roll ball-handler (in this case, Davis). Chalmers will, of course, get the one-on-one assignment at first, but guarding Davis will be a team-wide effort.
ADVANTAGE: Heat. It comes down to one main thing: health. Chalmers can start, play and finish games. Down the stretch, Chalmers has the ability to make big 3-point shots (his accuracy from beyond the arc is a career-high 38.9 percent this season), but Davis could likely be sitting for most of the fourth quarter, with J.R. Smith taking his place at point guard. And that's a position where he can do some damage, and one that Mike Woodson feels comfortable with.