MIAMI -- Maybe the Miami Heat just aren't destined to reach .500.
On Friday night, Heat guard Goran Dragic easily beat New York Knicks rookie Ron Baker to the basket, and he got there on his preferred left hand. But Dragic's open layup attempt rolled halfway around the rim before falling out.
Heat center Hassan Whiteside tried to tip it in, but he was called for offensive basket interference. And his tip-in try, with 7.1 seconds left, missed anyway.
It was that kind of night for the Heat, who lost 98-94 to the Knicks at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat (37-39) have lost in three attempts to reach .500 this season. The previous two were losses to the Portland Trail Blazers on March 19 and to the Toronto Raptors four nights later. All three losses were at home.
Kristaps Porzingis scored 22 points to lead New York. Courtney Lee added 20 points, including two free throws after the Dragic miss that sealed the game.
"Come on," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said with a bittersweet laugh when he was asked about Dragic's shot. "It's so tough to get good shots on a side out-of-bounds in this league.
"I love Goran off the dribble, attacking and right at the rim. He's not going to miss those (often). He probably feels horrible about it, but this is a make-or-miss league.
"We don't love him any less. Next time we get that opportunity, we probably will go right back to him. I loved how aggressive he was."
The Knicks outscored the Heat in the paint 48-38 and also shot 16 of 17 on free throws. New York shot 47.5 percent from the floor, more than six percentage points better than Miami.
New York also avenged a 105-88 home loss to Miami on Wednesday.
"They punked us the first time," Porzingis said. "That's how we felt."
Not this time, though. The Heat led only briefly and never by more than one point.
Miami is 26-9 since the halfway point of the season, making up for an 11-30 start. But the Heat's loss on Friday kept them in a virtual tie with the Indiana Pacers for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Miami is in seventh due to a tiebreaker, and Indiana is eighth.
New York (29-47), out of the playoffs for the fourth straight year, is 3-9 in its past 12 games.
Miami was powered by Dragic, who had 22 points.
Whiteside, who had 17 points and 16 rebounds, gave the Knicks credit.
"Porzingis and all them," Whiteside said, "they played well."
The Knicks, off to a 15-4 start four minutes in, held on to a slim 33-29 lead at the end of the first quarter. Lee had 10 of New York's points in the quarter, including a steal and layup at the buzzer.
"We were on our heels from the start," Spoelstra said.
New York led 59-55 at halftime as the Knicks shot 50 percent from the floor for the first 24 minutes. The Knicks also had a 30-20 paint-points advantage in the first half.
Miami won the third quarter but still trailed 77-75. And the score was tied 90-90 when New York went on a 6-0 run.
The Knicks held on from there -- but barely.
"We played a full 48 minutes," Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. "Our guys were really busting their tails."
Indeed, the Heat made just 4-of-18 shots in the fourth quarter.
"Everyone was playing together, hair on fire, covering for each other when we got beat," Baker said. "We had good rim protection. Guys were being selfless."
NOTES: Knicks SF Carmelo Anthony (back) and PG Derrick Rose (knee) sat out. ... Heat SG Dion Waiters (left ankle) missed his seventh straight game and has not yet been cleared to run. ... Heat C Hassan Whiteside's tip-in to beat the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday was Miami's first game-winning buzzer-beater in eight years, which had been the longest active drought in the NBA. Dwyane Wade had the last Miami buzzer-beating winner, in 2009. ... Since the 2000-2001 season, the Knicks have won just one playoff series, which is tied with the New Orleans Pelicans for the fewest among any NBA franchise.