With first place in the Eastern Conference potentially on the line, the Carmelo Anthony-less New York Knicks were still able to take care of the Miami Heat on the road, 112-92, at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Thursday night.
The Knicks can thank point guard Raymond Felton for coming up big when they needed it most. He posted 27 points and seven assists to make up for Anthony's missed offensive production. Felton hit on a career-high six threes.
Behind the effort from their point guard, the Knicks handed the Heat their worst home loss since the Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh was assembled and extended their lead on the Heat for the top spot in the Eastern Conference to 1.5 games.
The Heat's previous biggest home loss in the era was a 15-point defeat at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies last April.
Combined with Jason Kidd's 11 points and Tyson Chandler's 13, Felton and the Knicks were able to withstand another near triple-double from James, who finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and end a five-game losing streak in Miami, including the playoffs. Bosh and Wade were held in check most of the night, scoring 12 and 13 points respectively against a strong Knicks defensive effort.
After heading into halftime all square at 53-53, the Knicks used a 37-point third quarter to pull away from the Heat for good. Knicks guard J.R. Smith, who finished with 13 points off the bench, scored eight in the quarter while Felton scored 11 of his 27.
New York put the finishing touches on the victory in the third quarter as Smith and Steve Novak torched the Heat from the three-point line, hitting three threes down the stretch to seal the win.