Knicks Schedule: Struggling Knicks Visit LeBron James And The Heat

Prior to the season, the Knicks' first matchup with the Miami Heat on Jan. 27 was supposed to be a measuring stick. Were the new look Knicks, with Tyson Chandler to go along with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, ready to match wits with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and that other guy who made up Miami's Big Three?

Nobody would have thought that a loss on Jan. 27 to the Heat could cost Mike D'Antoni his job. That might be a bit drastic, but that's the position the 7-11 Knicks are in on Friday night when they hit South Beach to face the 13-5 Heat. The Knicks can't afford to keep losing games, as loss on Friday would put them five games below .500. In a season that only has 66 games, such a mark at the quarter-point of the season is alarming.

The dynamic between the two teams is interesting, given the "Big Three" model that both teams have opted for in building their rosters. The Heat of course made it to within two victories of a championship last year, and nobody ever expected the Knicks to get that far this year. Those Knicks optimists looking for parallels between the two teams could point to last year's rough start for the Heat. They started 9-8, deemed disastrous by their atmospheric expectations, but a record these Knicks would sign up for nonetheless. In a piece that ran in Friday's New York Daily News by Frank Isola, James sais the Knicks need to be patient.

"It’s never going to work just right over night," James said. "We were the prime example of that. It took us time. We were 9-8 at one point, but it took us even longer after that to become a good team. To know each other. To learn each other. What works for each other. What don’t work. I think they’re going through the same thing right now. But people want results now. That’s just the league and the world we live in."

-via New York Daily News

There was no doubt going to be a bit of an adjustment period for these Knicks, with the roster shake up and a short preseason because of the lockout. But losses against lowly teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks aren't going to cut it for an organization that has two of the game's elite scorers. And while Wade may miss his seventh straight game with an ankle injury, the Knicks' recent results don't exactly make anyone think that swings this game in favor of New York.

A road loss to the Miami Heat on Jan. 27 shouldn't have been a cause for great concern. But because of their terrible start, the Knicks -- and Mike D'Antoni -- find themselves in that very position. They've earned that.

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