In a titillating first half, the Miami Heat have taken a narrow first half lead over the Linsational New York Knicks, 51-47. With both teams playing passionately, this game has had the feel of a playoff game all throughout. After exploding through the gates for a 10-4 lead, the Heat came back to reality quickly as the Knicks worked the offensive boards to provide their offense with extra opportunities and capitalized on those extra chances.
With all eyes on him, Jeremy Lin has struggled thus far in the contest. He has only 2 points on 1 for 5 shooting and, more importantly, 6 turnovers. With Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, and at times LeBron James all pressuring the second-year guard, Lin has been unable to create offense for himself or his team.
Despite Lin's sluggish start, the Knicks have had a balanced attack. Amare Stoudemire has 11 points (and 6 turnovers as well), Carmelo Anthony has 9 points, and Steve Novak hit 3 consecutive three-point shots in the second quarter.
What to look for in the second half: The Heat and Knicks understand that this is a statement game: for the Knicks, if they beat the streaking Heat, they can ride that wave of momentum into the All-Star break; however, if they lose, they can chalk it up to still needing more time to "gel." For the Heat, if they lose, they take a step back in the eyes of most media outlets and the national viewership.
The Knicks and Heat played a similar game last year in which the Knicks beat the Heat despite acquiring Carmelo Anthony just days before the game. I would look for the Heat to continue their intensive efforts in hopes of avoiding a similar fate to last year's game.