MIAMI (AP) — No one had a big scoring night for Miami, which was not an issue. Having great defensive numbers is considerably more important to the Heat right now anyway.
And they stifled the New York Knicks.
Miami forced New York into missing 15 out of 16 shots in one early stretch, part of what became a 95-78 Heat victory on Monday and the Knicks’ worst shooting performance in their last 212 games — a mere 32 percent effort. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each scored 16 points for the Heat, who snapped New York’s four-game winning streak.
“You can see some defensive habits being built,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “In this game I think it was fitting that there wasn’t a quote-unquote star of the game. It was more of a group effort.”
It was 52-30 at halftime, and numbers like that have become common at Heat games. New York was the eighth NBA team this season to score no more than 30 in a half — and Miami has been responsible for three of those instances.
“We never gave ourselves a chance,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said.
The Knicks hadn’t even trailed by double figures in any of their last eight games. Miami led at one point by 26, simultaneously its biggest advantage and the Knicks’ biggest deficit so far this season.
“We’re starting to figure it out,” Wade said after Miami finished off a 6-1 homestand.
Goran Dragic had 13 points and nine assists for the Heat. Tyler Johnson scored 12, and Hassan Whiteside had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points for New York, which has lost 13 of its last 16 in Miami. Rookie Kristaps Porzingis missed 11 of 18 shots, but still had 20 points and 14 rebounds for his seventh double-double.
“We missed shots early. It kind of got us down a little bit,” Anthony said. “We did a much better job in the second half making the adjustment. But by that time we were already in the hole.”
New York led 13-6 early, and briefly. Miami’s big run made it 42-21, and New York never got closer than 12 again. Anthony missed a 3-pointer that would have gotten the Knicks within nine early in the fourth, but it bounced off the rim and Miami put the game away with seven unanswered points that quickly got the lead back to 19.
“We’re going to need these habits that we’ve built in these last couple games,” Johnson said. “We’re building a championship-level defense. We’re definitely on the right path and I think we can get even better.”
Knicks: New York’s previous season low was 87 points. … Porzingis opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, and has now taken the first shot for the Knicks — all jumpers — in five of their last seven games. … New York was bidding for its longest winning streak since an eight-game run from March 5-21, 2013. … The Knicks went 424 minutes, 7 seconds without facing a 10-point deficit until Miami got there early in the second quarter.
Heat: Miami had a 30-10 advantage in bench scoring, and reserve forward Justise Winslow was plus-28 — his fourth effort of plus-20 or better in his first 13 NBA games. … Amare Stoudemire was inactive because of an illness, meaning he missed a chance to face his former team. Stoudemire played for the Knicks from the start of 2010-11 season until this past February, last playing against them on March 26, 2010.
It’s a safe guess that Knicks-Heat was a big draw in Slovenia on Monday night. The game featured three Slovenian players — Dragic and Beno Udrih for the Heat, and Sasha Vujacic for the Knicks.
Whiteside blocked five shots, giving him 63 through 13 games. The previous Heat record for blocks at this point of the season belonged to Alonzo Mourning, who had 50 to open the 1998-99 season.
But Whiteside’s biggest contribution might have come from the foul line. A 51 percent career shooter from the line coming into the night and someone who banked one in earlier Monday, Whiteside went 4 for 4 down the stretch when the Knicks went to the intentional-hacking tactic.
Knicks: Visit Orlando on Wednesday.
Heat: Visit Detroit on Wednesday.
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