Without Anthony & Rose, Knicks Top Heat 98-94

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MIAMI (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis scored 22 points, Courtney Lee added 20 and the New York Knicks led nearly the entire way in beating the Miami Heat 98-94 on Friday night.

Justin Holiday scored 12 for the Knicks, who played without Carmelo Anthony (back), Derrick Rose (knee) and Lance Thomas (hip). It was only the fourth win in the last 15 games for New York.

Goran Dragic scored 22 points and Hassan Whiteside had 17 points and 16 rebounds for Miami, which missed 15 of its final 16 attempts from 3-point range. Tyler Johnson scored 15 for the Heat.

Even with the loss, Miami (37-39) held onto the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference standings because No. 8 Indiana (37-39) also lost, the Pacers falling to Toronto. The Heat and Pacers are just a half-game ahead of No. 9 Chicago.

The Heat had a chance to tie in the final seconds, but Dragic missed a layup and Whiteside was called for offensive basket interference as he tried to tip the rebound.

Lee then sealed the win by hitting a pair of free throws.

“These guys have got to play like we want to win the game,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “We’re not just going out there to play. You’re not out there playing a pickup game — you’re out there to try to win. So no matter who you have on the court, that’s the way we should be approaching it.”

[graphiq id=”jkO3jBdT5hX” title=”New York Knicks vs Miami Heat” width=”600″ height=”603″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/jkO3jBdT5hX” link=”http://nba-teams.pointafter.com” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

It may prove to be a costly loss for Miami.

This was possibly the last game the Heat will play this season against a team eliminated from playoff contention. Miami hosts Denver on Sunday, followed by a three-game, four-night trip next week to Charlotte, Toronto and Washington. After that, it’s back home for games with Cleveland and Washington — who may still be jockeying for playoff seeds.

New York trailed for only 1 minute, 48 seconds, and never by more than a point. The Knicks’ lead was four after one quarter, four at halftime and two after the third quarter.

Miami tied the game five times in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter, and New York answered with a basket to reclaim the lead every time.

TIP-INS

Knicks: New York needs to finish 4-2 to avoid a third straight season of at least 50 losses. … Anthony averaged 17.3 points in March. The only other month when he averaged less while playing at least eight games was February 2012 (16.5). … New York had 25 assists on 38 field goals.

Heat: Dion Waiters (ankle) continues progressing, though no timetable has been set for his return. Friday was the seventh game he missed with the sprain. … Tyler Johnson got hit in the face in the first half, with some blood getting on his uniform and the court.

GRANT HONORED

Former Heat player Brian Grant, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease nearly a decade ago, was at the game and is hosting a fundraiser Saturday in Miami to aid his foundation. “With Parkinson’s, the main thing you want to happen, the best thing that can happen, is for you to progress relatively slow. And I’ve been progressing slowly,” Grant said. He and Heat President Pat Riley — his former coach — chatted at courtside just before tipoff, both smiling broadly.

VALUE GUYS

With Anthony, Rose and Thomas hurt and Joakim Noah suspended, the Knicks played without four of their five highest-paid players — that group making a combined $68 million this season. Lee was the only Knicks player with a salary over $4.1 million who was on the court Friday.

UP NEXT

Knicks: Host Boston on Sunday, the start of a three-game homestand.

Heat: Host Denver on Sunday, Miami’s final game this regular season against a Western Conference opponent.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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