It was working for awhile.
The Miami Heat led the New York Knicks at halftime 58-50, and that meant six quarters of basketball in which the Heat competed with some pretty good teams without it's two superstars in Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. It was odd, strange, funny, and likely to crash at some point.
That point was the third quarter of the team's 102-90 loss to the Knicks (47-26) on April 2., as New York outscored the Heat by 20 in the second half and comfortably were ahead for good with a few minutes left in the game. After beating the San Antonio Spurs on the road and hanging with the Knicks for a half, the Heat's offense stalled as it missed some of the shots it usually makes and began to suffer from it's lack of efficient offensive creators.
Miami shot 50 percent for the contest, but just 36 percent in the second half, with the Knicks outscoring them 52-32. Forward Mike Miller, who scored 18 first half points, missed all four of his shots in the second half and didn't score a point. Center Chris Bosh managed to drop in 17 second half points after a slow first half, but the Heat could not keep up with the torrid pace of Carmelo Anthony, who led all scorers with 50 points on 18-of-26 shooting.
It was one of those nights where a talented All-Star got rolling and there wasn't much you could do. The Heat usually defend Anthony effectively, fully fronting him in the low and high post and generally making things difficult on him, but when he is hot from the perimeter, there is no stopping him regardless. It also helps that Anthony was able to avoid being guarded by LeBron James down the stretch.
Wade and James missed their second consecutive game, and Mario Chalmers missed his third consecutive contest. It's likely the beginning of another 'maintenance program' for Miami (58-16), who will be looking to rest a few key players as the postseason approaches. As it is, the team has clinched the best record in the Eastern Conference and as of today, was five wins away from clinching the best overall record in the league.
The Heat got 14 points from Norris Cole and 16 points from Shane Battier in the loss.