MIAMI (AP) — As the Miami Heat expected, the New York Knicks were much improved in Game 2.
Better, yes — but not good enough.
Dwyane Wade scored 25 points, Chris Bosh added 21 and the Heat beat New York 104-94 on Monday night, sending the Knicks to an NBA-record-tying 12th straight postseason loss.
LeBron James finished with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Heat, who lead the Eastern Conference first-round series 2-0.
Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points on 12-for-26 shooting for New York, which got 18 points from Amare Stoudemire and 13 apiece from Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith. The only other team to lose 12 straight playoff games is the Memphis Grizzlies, who dropped their first dozen postseason contests from 2004 through 2006.
New York’s last postseason win came April 29, 2001. The Knicks get another chance to snap the drought Thursday when they host Game 3.
Mario Chalmers scored 13 points and Mike Miller and Shane Battier each shot 3 for 5 from 3-point range on their way to 11-point games for the defending East champion Heat, who shot 52 percent.
Baron Davis, who sat most of the first half and has been battling back issues, finished with 12 points for the Knicks.
Along with the Grizzlies, the Knicks were one of four teams in NBA history with 11-game postseason losing streaks, according to STATS LLC, joining Denver (1988-94) and the Baltimore Bullets (1965-70).
The Heat came into the game saying they expected Anthony to be much more aggressive. They were right.
Anthony opened with an 11-shot quarter — the last time someone took more in the first 12 minutes of a playoff game was May 15, 2006, when Richard Hamilton got 12 shots off for Detroit against Cleveland. Anthony missed all seven of the jumpers he took in Game 1 when guarded by James, then got his first one to fall on the game’s first possession Monday.
By halftime, Anthony was up to 21 points on 9-for-18 shooting, the Knicks needing all that and more. Wade, James and Bosh combined for 41 points in the first two quarters, helping Miami take a 53-47 lead.
Unlike Game 1, it wasn’t over by halftime. And play was heated, just not overheated.
Chandler, who set a back pick that sent James tumbling late in Saturday’s first half, picked up a technical for taunting early in the second quarter when he went over Miller for a putback dunk and then glared at him for a few moments. A few minutes later, James did a fist-pump toward the seats after a layup late in the half.
But whenever Miami was on the cusp of pulling away, New York had answers.
Consecutive baskets by James midway through the third quarter, the second of those good enough for him to merit it worthy of a chest-bump and long look at the Knicks bench, put Miami up 67-56 — then its biggest lead. Four minutes later, the Knicks were within four, a dunk by Chandler making it 72-68 with 1:37 left in the period.
Miami’s margin was back to nine after a flurry ended the quarter. James drove right and got just about every Knick to shift with him, leaving Battier all alone for a 3-pointer, and James’ three-point play as the shot clock was running down had him laughing and the Heat up 78-69 going into the fourth.
The Knicks never got any closer.