Miami turn the heat up on Knicks
|New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (L) drives past Miami Heat forward LeBron James in the third quarter during Game 2 of their first round NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoffs in Miami, Florida April 30, 2012. Photo by Andrew Innerarity, Reuters.|
MIAMI - Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points for the New York Knicks but his team still came up short as Miami's 'Big Three' took charge to lead the Heat to a convincing 104-94 victory in the NBA playoffs on Monday.
Dwyane Wade top-scored for the Heat with 25 points, Chris Bosh made 21 and LeBron James had 19 plus seven rebounds and nine assists as Miami grabbed a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first round playoff series.
New York's Anthony scored 15 points in the first quarter but Miami never truly looked in any danger of losing even if this was a much closer affair than their victory in Saturday's opener when they won by 33 points.
For the Knicks, their 12th consecutive loss in the playoffs tied the league record and their woes were compounded with a post-game hand injury to forward Amar'e Stoudemire.
Stoudemire suffered a serious cut to his left hand and had to leave the arena wearing a sling with the hand bandaged.
While the team gave no details of the injury, several reports suggested he may have struck a fire extinguisher as he headed to the locker-room.
The Knicks, already without injured point guard Jeremy Lin, can ill-afford to lose Stoudemire for the upcoming two games at Madison Square Garden, especially given the way the Heat performed in all areas on Monday.
"It was a good team win," said Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra. "A lot of guys contributed on both ends of the court. We did what we are supposed to do. It's nothing more than that."
His counterpart Mike Woodson, however, had no doubt who had caused his team the most pain.
"It's no big secret. Those are three All Stars. Three finishers, guys that were in the finals last year and they are playing like that right now," he said.
Although they briefly fell behind in the second quarter as Anthony continued his superb shotmaking, the Heat led 53-47 at halftime, largely thanks to the efforts of Wade, who had 19 of his points by the break.
Anthony played the entire second half but the Knicks' over-reliance on their leading performer was in stark contrast to Miami's teamwork with six Heat players reaching double figures.
"That's one of the most efficient games we've had all year, probably the last two years we've been together," said James.
"When we play as a team like that we're going to be hard to beat. We had 28 assists on 38 field goals, that's a really good game," he added.
The seven-game series moves to New York for games three and four on Thursday and Sunday.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford/Ian Ransom)