New York Knicks finally beat Miami Heat

By Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange  |  Jan. 7, 2016 at 2:05 AM
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MIAMI -- Coach Erik Spoelstra said he was "uncomfortable" watching the New York Knicks play the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.

On Wednesday night, when it was his Miami Heat's turn to face the Knicks, Spoelstra's queasy feeling only increased.

New York broke a streak of eight straight losses in this once-bitter rivalry, defeating Miami 98-90 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Knicks (18-19) won their third straight game and exceeded the win total they had all of last season.

"You have to credit New York -- they played with a flow and a confidence offensively," Spoelstra said. "It felt and looked like we were playing in mud."

Here, with the benefit of numbers, is what Spoelstra was referring to: The Knicks shot 55.7 percent from the floor. Miami shot just 45.1 percent overall and 11.8 percent on 3-pointers (2 of 17).

The Knicks were led by forward Carmelo Anthony, who had 25 points and a team-high four assists, and center Robin Lopez, who had 19 points. Anthony and Lopez each made 9 of 12 from the floor.

"They were very efficient as a team," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "(Anthony) has been playing well. His assist numbers have been high. He is trusting his teammates and reading what the defense is doing."

Anthony has made a habit of putting up big numbers against the Heat. For his career, he averages 26.8 points vs. Miami, which is fifth all-time for any player against the Heat, trailing only Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Karl Malone.

But all those points haven't always translated into wins.

This season, though, Anthony seems more willing to pass -- as Wade alluded to -- and the result is a more balanced New York attack.

"I thought he was patient," Knicks coach Derek Fisher said of Anthony. "That's something he's been working on hard to develop as the season has gone on. I think he can be efficient when he plays relaxed, poised and confident. That's what he did tonight."

Anthony, though, deflected the praise that was thrown his way.

"These three games, we are showing something," Anthony said of the Knicks' winning streak. "It's not just me. We're all learning from each other."

One Knicks player who showed he has a lot to learn is 7-3 rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis, who had 12 points, four rebounds and two blocks.

Porzingis was held scoreless in the first half. In the second half, he was on the wrong end of some highlight plays. He missed what would have been an impressive dunk and later got dunked on by Heat forward Chris Bosh. Early in the fourth quarter, Porzingis got dunked on by Heat center Hassan Whiteside.

Miami (21-14), which had its three-game win streak snapped, was led by Bosh, who had a game-high 28 points. Wade added 18 points.

New York led 22-21 after the first quarter, 47-39 at the break and 71-59 after three quarters. Miami never got any closer than eight points in an uneventful fourth quarter.

The Heat has yet to have a four-game win streak this season. They have had four streaks of three games, and they lost at home to end all but one of those.

NOTES: Heat C Hassan Whiteside, who leads the NBA in blocks (4.0) and is fourth in rebounds (11.3), returned to the lineup after missing one game due to a bruised knee. "My knee was bothering me," said Whiteside, who had eight points and eight rebounds on Wednesday. "But I still went out there and rebounded." ... Heat F Josh McRoberts (knee) hasn't played since Dec. 9. ... Miami will play 14 of their next 16 games on the road. ... Knicks F Carmelo Anthony, known as a scorer but not for his all-around play, had the New York media raving after his performance in a win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday. Anthony had 23 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and also stood up for C Kristaps Porzingis when he got into a stare-down with Hawks F Kent Bazemore. ... Knicks F Lou Amundson, who had been wearing his long hair in a "man bun", got a crew cut for the first time since he was a freshman at UNLV.

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