Despite playing against the NBA’s worst team and with so much importance riding on each game, the Miami Heat defeated the New York Knicks 100-91 on Saturday night in what was unexpectedly a close game.
The Heat, who are in midst of a playoff battle against three teams with less than two games separating each other in the Eastern Conference standings, were tied through three quarters and had to fight until the end for the win to reach .500 again. Miami was led by Dion Waiters with a season-high 28 points and six assists while Dwyane Wade added 16 points off the bench. A visibly emotional Wade was honored with a tribute video and a standing ovation in his last ever game at Madison Square Garden.
An 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter gave the visiting team some breathing room and the Knicks only ended up scoring 13 points through the final 12 minutes of play. New York wouldn’t score their first point until a third of the way into the final quarter on a technical free throw by Emmanuel Mudiay, who led his team with 24 points.
Hassan Whiteside scored 12 points in the final quarter, one less than the Knicks team, and totaled 17 points and 13 rebounds. His final basket, off a Wade assist for an alley oop dunk, made it 97-85 with just less than two minutes left in the game to essentially ice the game.
Two of his teammates also finished with double-doubles: Kelly Olynyk with 12 points and 11 rebounds and Goran Dragic had 10 points and 10 assists.
Miami leads Orlando by half a game for the eighth and final playoff spot and will next visit the Boston Celtics on Monday.