By Sean Hartnett
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AmericanAirlines Arena had been a fortress for the Miami Heat. That was until the New York Knicks showed up and dented the mighty Heat’s armor.
Going into Thursday night’s nationally televised game, Miami was 8-0 at home. The Melo-less Knicks charged into the Heat’s home court and flat out dominated the league’s defending champions.
Without their lead dog, the Knicks pulled together and out-rebounded the Heat, forced twice as many turnovers and shot “lights out” from beyond the arc. When it was all said and done, the Heat were humbled by the Knicks’ 112-92 onslaught.
The King Humbled On His Own Court
“They kicked our a–. They have pretty much dominated us in two games,” LeBron James told The Palm Beach Post.
The Heat had no excuse. They were in their home building and rested. The Knicks were going into a back-to-back after a draining contest against the Charlotte Bobcats without their top scorer.
Knicks Drained Miami From Downtown
The Knicks were an incredible 18-for-44 from three-point range, including Rasheed Wallace’s six misses from downtown. Outside of ‘Sheed, the Knicks were automatic from three-point territory.
Raymond Felton sunk 6-of-10 shots from beyond the arc. Steve Novak went 4-for-9 from downtown. Jason Kidd and J.R. Smith both went 3-for-8 from long range. The Knicks hit 8-of-13 three pointers in the third quarter that gave them breathing space and their 19-8 run in the fourth quarter deflated the Heat.
Knicks Put On A Show With Their Superior Ball Movement
This was all a product of the Knicks’ superior ball movement. The Knicks kept making that extra pass to deceive the Heat and find open jumpers.
“We moved the basketball, we made shots. It was beautiful to watch. It was a great win for us,” Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson said following the victory.
Felton was in complete command as he sunk 27 points and orchestrated the offense, picking up 7 assists. The Knicks’ point guard was everything they needed him to be — sharpshooter, conductor, penetrator, hustler and help defender.
On most nights, James White sits at the end of the Knicks’ bench. While he wasn’t a main contributor, White was a pleasant surprise as he shot a perfect 3-for-3 for 7 points. Same goes for Pablo Prigioni who also scored 7 points and shot 3-for-3. Every Knick played their part.
New York held two of Miami’s “Big Three” in check all game. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh were absent. Outside of King James, no Heat player scored over 13 points.
Wade was held to 13 points. Miami’s superstar guard was ice cold from the field as he went 3-for-13. The Heat were a minus-33 when he was on the court. Chris Bosh wasn’t any better. Bosh was limited to 12 points and was -21.
“Their big three, their offense runs around them. You try to keep all the other guys out of the game and we really did a good job of that,” Felton told reporters after the game.
The Knicks now stand alone with an Eastern Conference best 14-4 record. Miami’s throne has been abdicated.
Have the Knicks found the weakness in the Heat’s armor? Sound off below and send your tweets to @HartnettWFAN.