Following the coaching change, the Knicks have been playing very well. Despite losing Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin to injuries, the Knicks have finally started to play solid defense. While their defense has improved, Carmelo Anthony has finally undertaken the role as the main go-to guy on the other end. In his last 10 games, Melo is averaging 28.8 points, while shooting 49.8% from the field.
Miami, on the other hand, have been struggling lately, losing to Boston and Chicago, but cruised to an easy victory against Charlotte at home in their last game. Since the two teams could possibly meet in the first round of the playoffs, both will be looking to make a statement. To win the game, Miami would need to shut down Carmelo Anthony, as he is currently putting up over 20 shots a game. LeBron James will most likely be taking the challenge to force Anthony into making shots with a high degree of difficulty.
Carmelo Anthony started off the game playing aggressively, but the Knicks defense was struggling as Miami got off to a 14-7 start. Dwyane Wade made a nice lob pass to LeBron, who finished with a dunk, and also banked in two jumpers early.
Half way through the quarter, Chris Bosh got hit in the face by Tyson Chandler, resulting in his second foul. The foul would send the defensive anchor of the Knicks to the bench, giving the Heat more breathing room in the paint.
Wade was looking very sharp, as he was hitting jumpers and getting to the paint. He scored 12 of the Heat’s first 20 points, before sitting down on the bench for an early rest.
Carmelo Anthony was looking for his shot throughout the first quarter, and got to the line quite a lot. Despite Anthony’s 14 points, Heat finished the first quarter with a 29-22 lead.
Both teams started the 2nd quarter slow, mostly shooting jumpers. First basket of the quarter came with a nice jam by Jeffries, following a pass by J.R Smith.
After missing his first three 3-point attempts, Steve Novak managed to drill one, bringing the Knicks back within 4.
Following a couple of missed shots by the Heat, Anthony flew by Dwyane Wade, scoring an easy layup.
Coming off the timeout, Anthony managed to find an open Shumpert in the corner, who drilled a three pointer to give the Knicks their first lead of the game.
Towards the end of the 2nd quarter LeBron James scored a couple of baskets and got to the line to return the lead back to Miami’s favor.
Even so, the story of the half was Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo put on a great display of balance, as he was taking the ball to the basket, connecting on his pull-up jumpers and, believe it or not, stepping up on defense and making plays. At the end of the half “Melo” had 22 points 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Heading into the break LeBron James, who had 15 points and 7 rebounds himself, was asked what Miami can do in order stop the red-hot Anthony:
LeBron James- “Nothing. He had a couple of drives we weren’t too happy about and he got to the line a couple of times, but he is hitting contested twos and we are alright with that.”
The first quarter ended 46-44 in favor of the Heat.
Carmelo Anthony started the quarter where he left off, hitting a contested two point shot. LeBron James also started the quarter strong, driving to the basket and scoring despite being fouled. James also hit a tough fade-away jumper, but stepped on the foot of a fan, turning his ankle. LeBron wasn’t getting up which forced Miami to take a timeout upon recovering possession of the ball. LeBron shook it off, and stayed in the lineup as the game continued.
Miami stepped up on defense, getting a lot of consecutive stops, which helped them to a 7-0 run, extending their lead to 9.
James kept attacking the basket, and Tyson Chandler got called for a flagrant foul, trying to wrap up James. On the next possession Chandler got fouled himself, and got hurt on the play. Chandler missed his 2nd free throw but got the offensive rebound that lead to a Smith three-pointer. Chandler went to the bench after that, looking to be in a lot of pain.
J.R Smith hit a big three-pointer at the very end of the quarter, making it a 3 point game heading into the 4th quarter.
Knicks were looking to come out strong early, and forced Miami to turn the ball over several times. Novak made a nice three and Landry Fields got an easy layup on the break to jumpstart the quarter for the Knicks.
As the Madison Square Garden started chanting, Chris Bosh made a strong move to the basket, coming up with a huge dunk that silenced the crowd.
Tyson Chandler returned to the game, but Bosh managed to get the best of him as he scored on a layup. Chris Bosh also made a big block, on what looked to be an easy layup for Landry Fields. That led to a nice move from Dwyane Wade on the other end, which in turn helped Miami turn the lead back in their favor.
Joel Anthony got an offensive rebound and an easy layup, as the Knicks failed to box him out. Wade and James followed up with a jumper each to extend the Miami lead to 7 with 4:08 left.
Wade made a nice floater as he got past his man, and James made a nice fade-away to give the Heat a double digit lead and put the game out of reach for the Knicks.
Miami won the game 93-85, as Carmelo Anthony’s 42 points were not enough. Heat picked up their defense in the end of the 4th quarter to really close out the Knicks, and the duo of James and Wade combined for 57 points, while Bosh added 16 points and 14 boards.
Knicks have now been handed their first defeat at home since Mike Woodson took over the team.
The win is very important for Miami, who are trying to get back on track as we approach the playoffs.