The Miami Heat came into New York with a relatively weak road record. The New York Knicks, meanwhile, had won nine straight at home, playing perfectly at Madison Square Garden since Mike Woodson became head coach. The Heat were able to change that, though, behind big performances from their "Big Three". LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh were all Miami needed to overcome a big game from Carmelo Anthony and a decent effort from the shorthanded Knicks. The Heat blew an early lead, but exploded in the fourth quarter for a 93-85 win.
Miami has had very little trouble with the Knicks this season, and Sunday's game appeared to be following that trend in the early going. Dwyane Wade had no problem finding shots he liked against Iman Shumpert's defense, and Chris Bosh found open looks and got Tyson Chandler into early trouble. Miami went up by as many as 11 points and led by seven at the end of the first quarter.
The Heat generated a lot of their offense from jumpers, though, and when New York tightened up defensively and those jumpers started to strike the rim, the Knicks got back into the game. The Knicks, still playing without Amar'e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, didn't have much depth offensively, but they did have Carmelo Anthony. Anthony just torched the Heat with an array of fakes, drives, and dribble moves, sinking shots and drawing contact to get his points. Anthony's 42 points and J.R. Smith's 16 off the bench were pretty much all New York had going offensively, but they were enough to bring the Knicks back and keep the game close well into the fourth quarter.
In that final frame, though, the Heat started to find their touch again. After going relatively cold through the middle two quarters, Wade and James reverted to sinking tough, contested shots over pretty solid Knicks defense. New York's only hope of staying competitive was to do the same, but it registered some costly empty possessions. Anthony bricked some isolation attempts to keep New York involved, as Miami quickly erased a deficit and then some. After Smith's fancy transition dunk put New York up four with eight minutes remaining, the Heat took over. They finished the game on an 18-6 run, making absolutely sure that the Knicks wouldn't sneak back into it.
Miami remains in second place at 42-17 (17-13 on the road) while New York fell to 31-29 and sunk below Philadelphia into the eighth seed, momentarily dropping out of position for a first round playoff match-up with those same Heat.
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