GAME 5: HEAT 106 KNICKS 94 | AMERICANAIRLINES ARENA
How it happened:
In the early stages of Game 5, the Knicks were poised and exuded supreme confidence in another elimination situation without the services of Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert, and Jeremy Lin. Additionally, Amar’e Stoudemire fought through another playoff contest while wearing a heavy bandage on his left hand.
New York jumped out to a 17-12 lead after Carmelo Anthony buried a pull-up 3-pointer over Chris Bosh. Earning his first start of the series, Mike Bibby answered the call by scoring eight points and drilling two long bombs in the first period. Powered by LeBron James, the Heat fought past the Knicks' 53 percent shooting from the floor and the home team rallied on a 16-7 run to take a 28-24 lead after the first 12 minutes of action.
3-point shooting, rebounding, and the offensive explosion from Dwyane Wade in the second quarter provided Miami with a solid cushion heading into the locker room. When Wade or James streaked through the lane, New York’s defense was forced to collapse, which led to open shooters for the Heat on the perimeter. Mike Miller sunk 3-of-4 long bombs in the period and Miami hit 50 percent of its attempts from downtown.
As expected, Anthony worked hard for his buckets but he found some daylight to register 15 points in the first half. Refusing to go away quietly, Amar’e Stoudemire smashed a one-handed dunk over Joel Anthony to trim the Heat’s advantage to just four points with 3:06 left in the second period.
Wade scored the last five points of the half and negated a slick euro-step layup from Anthony on the opposite side of the floor. Miami’s All-Star shooting guard extended the lead to 55-55 after dropping an impressive jumper off the glass. Wade was fouled on the shot by J.R. Smith and he completed the 3-point play. James and Wade combined for 15 points in the first half and Miami outrebounded New York 23-13 and scored 14 second chance points to New York’s 3 heading into the locker room.
The Heat managed to control the second half as Stoudemire was hit with his fifth foul at the 6:41 mark of the third quarter. At this point, Miami led by 10 points and the East’s No. 2 overall seed stretched its advantage over the course of the final period as it ballooned to 19 points. New York was able to narrow the second chance points and rebounding gap but the lack of offensive fire power eventually hurt any comeback opportunity.
Despite another monster performance from Anthony (35 points), the Knicks were dropped in Game 5 106-94. Stoudemire chipped in 14 points, Fields added 12, and Smith Scored 12 off the bench to conclude the 2011-12 season for New York.
Anthony was a beast once again and became a deadly scorer against the stifling Heat defense. The forward hit 15-of-31 shots from the floor, 2-of-5 behind the arc, and 3-of-4 at the charity stripe. In the defeat, Anthony also snatched eight boards in 42 minutes of action.
Anthony’s performances in Games 4 and 5 were brilliant considering the onslaught of defenders he faced throughout the series. Against James, Battier, and even Wade at times, Anthony tallied 76 points in the last two playoff outings for the Knicks.
State of the Series:
Miami advanced to the second round with a 4-1 series victory over New York. The Heat will face the Indiana Pacers in the next step towards the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Knicks will travel back to New York and begin the offseason process with Summer League, the Olympics potentially for Anthony and Chandler, and a couple of months of training in preparation for the 2012-13 season.