RECAP: Heat beat Knicks, remain on top of East

Mike Ehrmann

The Heat beat the Knicks 102-91 and remained on top of the East while pushing the Knicks from the brink of playoff contention.

Coming off a disappointing 2OT loss at home, the Heat were looking to keep their lead in the East, and also send the Knicks on the verge of being eliminated from postseason contention.  It was a back and forth came for the Heat and Knicks, which ultimately saw Miami pull away late in the third quarter and stay on to win the game 102-91.

Miami improved to 53-23 and remained on top of the Eastern Conference with 6 games remaining.

The Heat were again without Dwyane Wade for the sixth straight game recovering from a hamstring injury. Chris Andersen, Greg Oden, and Justin Hamilton all did not suit up for the Heat, and to say they were shorthanded, was an understatement. Miami was regulated to Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Rashard Lewis as their power rotation.

The first quarter got off to a rough start for the Heat, as they trailed the Knicks 14-3 before 3 minutes had came off the clock. The Heat (LeBron) were turning the ball over and the Knicks were converting and hitting shots. But Miami came back and by the end of the quarter only trailed by one.

The second quarter saw the Heat start off on a 9-0 run, and collectively a 17-1 run from the end of the first quarter. The 9-0 run was by a unit that didn't include LeBron James or Chris Bosh. Shane Battier connected from deep, so did Ray Allen, and the Heat seemed in control, but it didn't last. In the first half, the Knicks shot 8-18 from three including 5 from J.R. Smith. Miami's 10 first half turnovers really hurt them. The Knicks took the lead 50-48 into halftime.

The second half continued a closer battle between the two teams. The Heat settled into their game a little bit more and outscored the Knicks 25-14 in the quarter. Miami battled better on the boards and the Knicks cooled down from the outside considerably. Bosh grabbed 7 rebounds in the third quarter after not getting any in the first half. Udonis Haslem tied Alonzo Mourning for the career mark in offensive rebounds.

The Heat would have pulled away indefinitely, but J.R. Smith was knocking down threes all over the place in the fourth quarter. It was a quarter of shot making, as both teams traded baskets. The Heat let the Knicks get within 6, but no closer. Smith was 10-22 (NBA record for 3-point attempts) from downtown and had 32 points, but it was LeBron who led the pack with 38 points. Bosh, Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen all scored in double figures for the Heat.

Carmelo Anthony struggled with 13 points on 4-17 shooting. The Knicks shot under 38% as a team and are on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs, which would be the first time in Anthony's career.

The Heat host the Brooklyn Nets to end their five game home stand on Tuesday.

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