Before All-Star weekend arrives, there is one last test game for a couple of teams. It comes Thursday night when the Knicks visit the Heat in Miami, and it is a test in many ways.
For New York, now with a full complement of healthy players and a level of depth that exceeds what they’ve had over the first half of the season, it is a chance to measure themselves against a Heat team that has been steamrolling through the NBA over the past two weeks — winning seven in a row by a margin of least 12 points. It also is a chance to see how Jeremy Lin measures up against whoever defends him, be it LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Mario Chalmers, as Miami continues to compete with Chicago for the Eastern Conference’s best record.
All-Star Weekend begins Friday night with a new twist on the old Rookie-Sophomore game. This year, the rookies and sophomores have been pooled together and split into two teams, meaning we will have the league’s most prolific rookie passer, Ricky Rubio, tossing lobs to the NBA’s best dunker, Blake Griffin.
All-Star Saturday Night ends with the annual dunk contest, and the “Let Jeremy Dunk” campaign has paid off. Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz was added to the field earlier this week as a replacement for Iman Shumpert of the Knicks. Maybe Evans will jump over Mickey Mouse. Or even better, let’s see him sky over the much-taller Goofy.