Dominant 2nd half leads Heat to victory in New York

The Big 3 had a big night at the Garden.

This game had the feel and excitement of the Heat-Knicks games that had been played a decade ago.  Featuring flashy new free-agent superstars, both teams are playing their best ball of the season.  That being the case, the timing of this game couldn't be better.  I can only hope that this is the beginning of a renewed rivalry between the two clubs that lasts for years to come. 

Early on the teams went back and fourth, making some very nice plays and giving the packed Madison Square Garden an awesome show.  Miami then began to take over, making a pair of scoring runs that led to a 13-point lead early in the 2nd quarter.  The Knicks countered with a stretch of scoring that was sparked by some impressive long-distance shooting, and the teams went into halftime tied at 57.

Miami came out in the 3rd quarter and did what they have done many times this season, dominating play and taking a close game at the half into a double-digit lead.  With 10 minutes gone in the quarter the Heat turned the close, exciting game into an 18-point advantage.  LeBron did a good job of taking things over in the 3rd quarter, which usually happens when he hits his long J's. 

Essentially it was another day at his New York office for James.  He has had some of the best game of his career at the Garden, and while this one wasn't a 50-point game it was still a great night for LeBron.  He recorded his 2nd triple double in a Heat uniform, finishing with 32 points on 14-of-23 shooting (including 3-of-6 from downtown) to go along with 10 rebounds and 11 assists. 

The Heat certainly got their act together defensively during halftime, which as we have seen this season can be a huge spark to get things moving in the right direction.  They allowed New York to score 32 points in the 2nd quarter, which was a big part of why they came back to tie Miami at the half.  Once the 3rd quarter started though, things wouldn't come as easily for the Knicks. 

Erik Spoelstra's defense held New York to just 34 second half points and held Amare Stoudemire to 24 points after the Knicks center had scored at least 30 in 9 straight games.  Joel Anthony did a great job staying with Amare and as a team the Heat's help defense was pretty outstanding.  This game was a great example as to why Miami ranks 1st in several defensive categories this season. 

GAME NOTES

  • Miami has now won 6 consecutive road games.
  • As a team the Heat hit 10-of-18 from beyond the arc.  LeBron and Carlos Arroyo each had 3 while D-Wade and Mario Chalmers hit 2 apiece. 
  • All 5 Heat starters had at least 4 rebounds.
  • This was the 11th straight game that the Heat held their opponent under 100 points. 
  • James Jones drew his team leading 14th charge of the season early in the 2nd quarter.
  • Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade each had 26 points to go with LeBron's 32.  That 84 combined points by the Big 3 is their highest total of the season. 
  • This was the 9th win of the season by 20+ points for the Heat.

Next up is the Washington Wizards.  Tipoff from the Verizon center is tonight at 7. 

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