The Miami Heat won the first three games of their first round series against the New York Knicks by double-digits, but, with their backs against the wall on Sunday afternoon in Madison Square Garden, the Knicks finally put up the fight everyone had hoped for in this much-hyped series and won their first post-season game since 2001. LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony traded huge three-pointers in the final two minutes, and, despite a few missed free throws, the Knicks were able to hold on and win, 89-87. The series returns to Miami for Game 5 Wednesday when the Heat try to close it out a second time.
The first half was an ugly one, neither team could get much going, and the Heat led by six. Carmelo Anthony had 18 points but the rest of his team had just 20, which was foreshadowing for how the game would end. Amar'e Stoudemire returned with a heavily wrapped left hand — courtesy of the world's most famous fire extinguisher — and played surprisingly well, scoring 20 points with 10 rebounds, and shooting 8-for-13 from the floor.
The Knicks clawed back in the game in the second half behind Stoudemire and Anthony and, really, not much else. That is, until the game was tied at 81 with 1:23 left, when the ball was swung around the key and found Mike Bibby — in because Baron Davis gruesomely dislocated his patella earlier — who buried a clutch three-pointer from the corner. That's when things got really good.
LeBron James came back down and was left wide open by a hapless J.R. Smith, and he nailed a three-pointer to tie the game back up. 'Melo then went all hero-ball himself and hit another three, putting the Knicks back up three. The Heat had a chance to tie again — the way the game was going, it looked as if that was certain to happen — before Chris Bosh let a pass get away from him in the biggest moment of the game.
Anthony then took the inbounds and dribbled for a few seconds in the ensuing play before rising up and drawing a questionable shooting foul from Shane Battier on a three-point attempt. He missed the first two freebies but nailed the third to make it a two possession game. Though LeBron tried his best at bringing the Heat back with an unbelievable play, Dwyane Wade got the ball with the team down two points and the game winding down, and failed where so many have chastised James for doing the same in big moments.
This win changes nothing for the Knicks. Without Baron Davis especially, they can't climb out of a 3-0 hole to beat the NBA title favorites, especially having to win two games on the road to do it. This moment, however, showed us what we had all been hoping to see: a high-intensity playoff game with a satisfying finish at Madison Square Garden. The only question now is will Jeremy Lin return for Game 5?
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