There was a lot attention on how the Heat would start this game after their string of recent slow starts. Their first minute was awesome, with a Q trey and a Beasley 2-handed ally oop. The true test however was going to come on the defensive end where early on the Heat were having trouble...again, allowing an 17-4 run by the Knicks immediately following the Heat's 5-0 start.
After hitting on their two of their first three shots, Miami missed 9 in a row. They would get their stuff together and begin to catch back up. Dwyane Wade capped off a 13-5 Heat run with his 1st field goal in 5 tries; a nice finish on a fouled layup, completing the and 1 and briefly tying the game. Unfortunately the Heat let up and the Knicks scored 5 straight to close out the 1st.
It took about a minute for the Knicks to stretch their lead to 9 after the game was tied by Miami, who suddenly missed 6 straight shots. Remember when I said that I expected a big game from Jermaine O'Neal? He scored his first points just over 3 minutes into the 2nd quarter. That seemed to get him going a little bit, as shortly after he drew his 22nd charge of the season and then hit a J on the ensuing possession. Suddenly the Heat was on a 13-2 run that gave them a brief lead, but at least they were right back in the game.
After trailing by 9 points three different times in the quarter, Miami buckled down defensively and allowed their offense to get going. They played like a different team, shooting 61% in the 2nd quarter while holding the Knicks to just 35% and outscoring NY 31-18. All that led to the Heat taking an 8-point lead into the half. A scary moment though as D-Wade came off the court clutching his right wrist after missing a layup at the buzzer, but thankfully he would be just fine.
The Knicks came out hot in the 2nd half, hitting their first 5 shots and quickly closing the gap to 3. Miami caught themselves by forcing the Knicks into turnovers and got the lead back up to 9 within a few minutes. That wasn't enough for the Heat though, as they went on a 7-0 run to get the lead up to 13. That was the lead they took into the final quarter.
Both teams seemed to have defensive trouble in the early stages of the 4th. That is unacceptable for the Heat in the long run, but for this night they were at least keeping their double-digit lead. New York was able get the deficit into single digits a couple of times, but Miami responded every time with a bucket of their own. After a shaky start (again), the Heat quickly regrouped and beat the Knicks for the 5th straight time.
Props to Mike Beasley for his best statistical game in a while. He scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, grabbing 7 boards with 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. Maybe as important, NO TURNOVERS! He missed 3 of his 6 free throws, but was solid defensively. My main issue with Beasley is that he has this attitude that nothing is his fault. A perfect example of this came in the 3rd quarter when after missing a free throw, he looked at the rim and yelled ‘oh come on' or something like that. He walked up to the basket, staring it down and then shook his head and walked away. Then when he got the ball back for his 2nd shot he stared at it the same way he did at the rim, then kissed the ball before shooting.
- Dwyane Wade started the game 1-for-7 with just 6 points in the 1st quarter. He finished with 32 points on 12-of-26 shooting, hitting 8 of his 9 free throws. The crowd was very much pro-Dwyane, as they were oohing and ahhing at him all night.
- D-Wade also made some more Heat history, passing Glen Rice for most games started in a Heat uniform. Wade started his 462nd game as a member of the Heat last night.
- Carlos Arroyo had a very nice game that shouldn't go unnoticed. He scored 12 points on just 6 shots (5-of-6). Compare that to our other point guard who missed all 4 of his shots. Chalmers is shooting 26.8% in the 5 games played in April and 23.6 in his last 8. Rio also has 7 turnovers in his last 2 games. Arroyo has 7 turnovers in his last 7 games.
- Jermaine O'Neal was limited to just 17 minutes due to foul trouble. His breakout game will have to wait at least one more night.
- Udonis Haslem...another double double...ho hum. Double digit rebounds for his 5th straight game. 6th man of the year, or what?
- Quentin Richardson hit 4 triples and is now shooting 50% from beyond the arc (11-of-22) in the month of April.
- Props to former Heat backup Earl Barron. He recorded his 2nd double double in his 5th game for the Knicks after being promoted from the D-League.
Quick turnaround for Miami as they head about 2 hours south to Philly to play the Sixers in their final road game of the regular season Monday night. See you then!