Knicks Fall to Heat

Jonah Ballow



How it happened:
After allowing 29 Heat points in the first quarter, the Knicks defense tightened up over the next 12 minutes in the Eastern Conference clash at MSG. New York trailed by seven points heading into the second period but the squad gained some momentum by holding Miami to just four points through seven minutes of the quarter.

Powered by Carmelo Anthony’s brilliant first half, the Knicks snatched the lead at the 6:26 mark of the second period as the All-Star blew past Dwyane Wade for layup on the left side of the rim. Four minutes later, Anthony remained patient and sent a bullet pass to Tyson Chandler for an easy two-handed dunk. The Chandler bucket provided a three-point advantage for New York late in the quarter.

Anthony and his good friend LeBron James exchanged a couple of buckets before the half. James defended Anthony for a majority of the contest but could not slow down the Knicks forward in his spectacular 42-point performance.

James Jones drilled a 3-pointer and James connected on a couple of free throws to close the first half and Miami grabbed back the 46-44 lead after 24 minutes of exciting action.

By dramatically slowing the pace in the third quarter, the Heat methodically built a seven-point lead at the 2:05 mark. At this point, the game transitioned into a playoff atmosphere as Chandler wrapped his arms around James to halt a layup and was subsequently called for the Flagrant 1 foul.

Just seconds after the postseason foul on James, Chandler landed awkwardly and was in obvious knee pain. The big man headed to the bench and the training staff placed ice bags on the knee. The Knicks kept fighting with their center on the sidelines. Anthony completed a putback layup followed by a J.R. Smith 3-pointer to trim Miami’s lead to three points before the fourth quarter.

The Garden crowd began to sense a victory to start the final stanza when Steve Novak opened the period with a long bomb and Shumpert ripped Wade on a couple of possessions to ignite the New York fast break. The Knicks were able to create a 79-75 lead on a Smith open floor dunk with eight minutes remaining in the contest. However, Miami relied on its stars down the stretch to avoid a road loss in its lone trip to MSG this season.

With Anthony only hitting 2-of-7 from the floor in the fourth, Wade worked his offensive game with an off-balance jumper to place the Heat back on top with less than seven minutes left in the contest. Wade and James then hit back-to-back perimeter shots to push the lead to 87-80 and forced interim head coach Mike Woodson to call for the timeout.

A Wade euro-step floater and a James fadeaway closed the door on a Knicks comeback with 1:26 on the game clock. Wade scored eight points in the final quarter on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor.

The two Heat stars combined for 57 points and Chris Bosh added 16 and 14 boards as Miami improved to 42-17 on the season. New York suffered its first home loss in 10 games despite Anthony’s 42 points and Smith’s 16 off the pine. At 31-29, the Knicks lost the season series against Miami while missing Jeremy Lin and Amar’e Stoudemire in the lineup.

“We had some good looks but we just didn’t make them. As far as effort, it was there. We played extremely hard. There is no need, as a team, to put our heads down. We played hard, we played tough.” -- Carmelo Anthony

Top Knick:
Anthony continued his April tear by dropping the most points by an individual against the Heat this year. He managed to score 42 points in 43 minutes, hitting 14-of-27 shots from the floor and 12-of-15 at the charity stripe. Additionally, Anthony grabbed nine boards and dished out five assists in the defeat.

Statistically Speaking:
One major factor that led to the Knicks loss was the disparity on the glass today. Miami outrebounded New York 47-33 even thought the Heat only rank 22nd in the NBA in rebounds per game.

State of the Playoffs:
New York fell to the No. 8 spot and as of Sunday afternoon and the team would square off against the Chicago Bulls in the first round if the playoffs started today.

News and Notes:
Chandler told reporters his knee injury will not be an issue and he will receive treatment during the team’s off day on Monday. He also confirmed that he will be prepared to face the Celtics in another highly anticipated matchup on Tuesday.

Looking Ahead:
The Knicks will only have one day to prepare for another pivotal Eastern Conference battle against the Celtics on Tuesday night. Boston makes its final appearance at MSG this year and New York will only have one more home game on the schedule before potential postseason contests.

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