NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points, Andrea Bargnani had 19, and the New York Knicks beat the Miami Heat 102-92 on Thursday night for their season-high third straight victory.
Raymond Felton had 13 points and 14 assists for the Knicks, who seized control with a 16-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters and beat the Heat for the fourth time in five meetings over the last two seasons.READ MORE: Americans Letting Gift Cards Go To Waste
New York was second to Miami in the Eastern Conference last season when it won the series 3-1, but there was little reason to suggest the Knicks were ready to compete with the NBA champions this season. New York is only 13-22, though it has won four of five in 2014.
With Tyson Chandler out sick and J.R. Smith stuck on the bench as an apparent punishment, Amare Stoudemire contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
LeBron James scored 32 points for the Heat, who played without injured starters Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier and didn’t get much from Chris Bosh, who was held to six points on 3-of-10 shooting.
Dwyane Wade scored 23 points but missed all six free throws after sitting out the morning shootaround as Miami had its three-game winning streak snapped.
Smith didn’t play after the reigning Sixth Man of the Year’s latest trouble, a $50,000 fine when he attempted to untie an opponent’s sneaker for the second straight game, after he’d been warned by the NBA not to do it again. Knicks coach Mike Woodson criticized Smith’s behavior during a radio interview Wednesday but said before the game he wouldn’t discuss Smith any longer.READ MORE: 4 Miami Beach Police Officers Relieved Of Duty Over Use Of Force Following Arrest
But the benching did the speaking for him. Smith often stood far away from the huddle during timeouts, but his teammates sure didn’t miss him on the court.
Though the roster is different and the results are way worse, Woodson said before the game he believed the things that worked so well against the Heat last season could still do so, and for this night he was right as New York shot 54 percent from the field.
The Knicks surged into the lead late in the third. Bargnani answered back quickly after James blew by him for a dunk, converting a three-point play to tie it and ignite a 9-0 spurt that helped New York lead 75-71 entering the final 12 minutes.
New York ran off seven in a row to open the fourth, making it 82-71 on Stoudemire’s basket, and there was never really a run for the Heat, who couldn’t get closer than five from there.
The Heat were opening a six-game road trip, but the start of it couldn’t be more convenient. They are just a few miles away Friday to visit the Nets in a game in which both players from both teams will wear nicknames on their jerseys.
But the best they can do is salvage a New York split, even after shooting 54 percent in this one.
Miami scored the final seven points of the first quarter, capping it when James broke free to catch a lob and dunk an inbounds pass from behind the basket, to take a 27-21 lead. The Knicks scored 11 in a row early in the second, but Rashard Lewis made two 3-pointers from the corner in the final 1:11 to help the Heat grab a 48-43 halftime edge.MORE NEWS: Crestview Towers Residents Being Allowed To Slowly Return To Move Out Belongings
Notes: James played in his 800th career game. … The Heat return to New York on Feb. 1, the night before the Super Bowl just across the river in New Jersey.