James, Wade lead Heat over Knicks

Updated: 2012-01-29 08:01

(China Daily)

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 James, Wade lead Heat over Knicks

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3) runs down the court after scoring during the second half against the New York Knicks on Friday, in Miami. Wade scored 28 points as the Heat defeated the Knicks 99-89. Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Injured all-star guard returns with 28 points as Miami wins 99-89

MIAMI - The New York Knicks, they were all about the 3s. The Miami Heat, they welcomed back No 3.

Advantage, Heat.

LeBron James scored 31 points, Dwyane Wade - he of that No 3 jersey - scored 28 in his return from a sprained right ankle, and the Heat topped the 3-point obsessed Knicks 99-89 on Friday night. Chris Bosh scored 13 points and James finished with eight rebounds and seven assists for Miami, which plays host to Chicago on Sunday in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals.

"Real nice to be back," Wade said. "Felt great. Felt great."

Bill Walker scored 21 points for New York, which took 43 shots from 3-point range, the most in the NBA this season and a total that had the Knicks flirting with Dallas' NBA record of 49 set in 1996. The Knicks connected on 18 from beyond the arc, Walker making seven of them.

Toney Douglas scored 16 points, Landry Fields had 14 and Amare Stoudemire finished with 12 for New York, which tried more 3s than 2-point shots (41).

"We shot a lot of 3s but we did hit a bunch of them, which kept us in there," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We just couldn't sustain it all the way through. Give them credit, they're good."

Wade shot 11 for 19 from the field in his return, after missing six games with the ankle issue, plus having five steals, four assists and two blocks. The Heat - who have won eight of nine games without Wade so far this season - were outscored 54-6 from 3-point range, but held the Knicks to 36 percent shooting and only 18 points in the final quarter.

"It's a nice welcome back for that young kid, No 3," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

So while the Heat were healthier, the Knicks were ailing. New York played without Carmelo Anthony, who expects to miss at least two games while dealing with ankle, thumb and wrist problems. D'Antoni said Anthony would not return before Tuesday, so barring a change of plans that would rule him out of New York's game at Houston on Saturday.

"This was a game for us to win," Knicks center Tyson Chandler said. "We were right there. Just down the stretch they changed their coverages. We had them ... It was open and our game for the taking, but obviously they were the better team."

Wade and James went on a highlight display in the first quarter, setting each other up for dunks in the opening minutes and combining for five slams in Miami's first seven field goals. Wade showed no rust from his layoff, scoring eight points in the first nine minutes.

Miami went to the rim. The Knicks stayed outside - way outside.

D'Antoni said before the game the Knicks simply had to manufacture more offense. Hence, the game plan - shoot 3's, and shoot them in bunches.

Of New York's first 33 shots, 19 were from 3-point range. That's right: The Knicks had exactly two 2-pointers in the first 15-plus minutes. Over a stretch of nearly six minutes in the first half, the Knicks had 13 consecutive 3-point attempts, nothing inside the arc.

Desperate times, desperate measures, perhaps.

By halftime, the Knicks had tried 23 from long range - the most in the NBA this season and the most ever in a first half against Miami.

"We treated everybody as Ray Allen," Spoelstra said, referring to the Boston guard who is widely considered the league's best spot-up 3-point shooter. "That's what we kept on saying. That is Ray Allen out there. That's how they had to be treated, with that kind of respect. Make them put it on the floor."

Walker's season high had been 15 points. He got there early in the third quarter on Friday, part of a wild personal burst in which he scored nine points in 69 seconds to give the Knicks a 62-58 lead.

He connected on three 3-pointers, banking in the last one from 27 feet, talking animatedly to no one in particular after each one.

The Knicks were so committed to the 3-pointer that on one possession midway through the second half, the 7-foot Chandler had the 6-foot-4 Wade posted up, and kicked the ball to Walker for a corner 3.

A few moments later, Chandler had Wade alone in the post again, no one else within about 3 feet of them, and still didn't get the ball for what likely would have been an easy score or at least trip to the foul line.

By the time the Heat made their first 3-pointer of the night, late in the third quarter, New York had made 14 - a surreal 42-point discrepancy.

New York simply had no answer for Wade and James.

"I felt good enough," Wade said.


Celebrities were everywhere, especially from the baseball world. Alex Rodriguez sat courtside with Heat CEO Nick Arison, while Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and one of his former players Miguel Cabrera - soon to be Detroit's third baseman - chatted at halftime. Also in the crowd was former Knicks coach and current Florida International boss Isiah Thomas ... Miami PG Norris Cole was bloodied after getting struck near his left eye in the first half. He returned to play and got four stitches postgame.

Associated Press

 James, Wade lead Heat over Knicks

More than 300 fans participated in a Chinese New Year viewing party hosted by NBA China in the 798 Art District in Beijing on Saturday. The viewing party is a part of the NBA's week-long Chinese New Year celebration which aims to pay tribute to the league's Chinese fan base with games, customized coverage and a variety of NBA-themed events in China and the US. The viewing party featured a game between Oklahoma City and Golden State. Oklahoma City won 120-109. Kevin Durant had 37 points and 14 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook dazzled with 28 points and 11 assists for the Thunder, who notched their fourth straight win. Oklahoma City pulled away with a 14-3 run late in the fourth quarter to successfully begin a string of nine of 11 away from home. Dorell Wright scored 23 for the Warriors, who pushed another one of the NBA's elite to the brink. While Golden State already topped Miami, Chicago and Orlando this season, it came up short this time. Provided to China Daily

(China Daily 01/29/2012 page7)