Posted March 04, 2013

Three-Pointers: Heat’s LeBron James slams door on Knicks

Ben Golliver, Jason Kidd, LeBron James, Miami Heat, New York Knicks
LeBron James picked apart the Knicks on Sunday. (Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)

LeBron James picked apart the Knicks on Sunday. (Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

The Heat defeated the Knicks 99-93 on Sunday in New York, winning their franchise-record-tying 14th consecutive game and improving to 43-14. New York, which had routed Miami in the first two meetings this season, dropped to 35-21.

• There are six weeks left in the regular season, but Miami is ready for the playoffs now. The Heat haven’t lost a game in more than a month; they have taken to amusing themselves with increasingly daring pregame dunking exhibitions; and they’ve received the type of play from the one-man terror that is LeBron James that is capable of toppling a vast majority of the league’s teams single-handedly.

Include the Knicks in that category. In the first round of the 2012 playoffs, James averaged 27.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.2 steals in Miami’s five-game triumph over New York. He bested those numbers on Sunday, finishing with 29 points (on 12-for-23 shooting), 11 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a block in 43 minutes. He tallied 12 points and three assists in the fourth quarter, helping pull the Heat out of a 16-point deficit on an afternoon when their defense didn’t look particularly sharp and their offense — which got four three-pointers in four attempts from a red-hot Shane Battier and 20 points and eight assists from Dwyane Wade –  grinded a bit more than usual.

Back-to-back three-pointers from James to open the fourth quarter pulled Miami even at 79-79 and an emphatic dunk from him provided the game’s final score. Leading 97-93 and playing defense with less than 30 seconds remaining, the Heat needed a stop to ensure that the Knicks couldn’t finagle a way back into the game.

The stop was only half of James’ plan, though, as he intercepted a telegraphed J.R. Smith pass and took off for the races while his opponents realized giving chase would be a fool’s errand. James elevated from a couple of steps inside the free-throw line for his breakaway, one-handed slam. The rim shook, the door closed and the Knicks’ confidence, borne of their head-to-head domination this season, evaporated. It was the same old insurmountable James.

“His motor is limitless,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after the game. Spoelstra added of James: “He was strong and was at his strongest after 40 minutes of basketball.”

See James’ game-sealing steal and dunk here:

• The bright spot for the Knicks was Jason Kidd’s rediscovery of his shooting touch. The veteran point guard’s accuracy has fallen precipitously from month to month this season, bottoming out at just 15.6 percent in February.

jason-kidd-three-point

Kidd, moved to a reserve role by coach Mike Woodson, entered the game with both guns blazing, nailing four three-pointers in the first half. By comparison, he had made just four three-pointers combined in his last nine appearances, shooting 4-of-30 in 236 minutes. Getting that same production in an 11-minute stretch, coupled with Carmelo Anthony’s hot start (he scored 17 of his 32 points in the first quarter), sparked the Knicks to a 59-45 halftime lead. Kidd and his teammates couldn’t sustain the firepower in the second half, though: The 39-year-old had just two points and the Knicks shot just 2-for-12 from deep after halftime.  

• The Heat received a scare with a little less than eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, when James landed awkwardly after failing to complete a deep alley-oop from Wade.

After running hard to create a throw-ahead transition opportunity, James rose high, alongside Smith, but the pass was simply a good two feet too high. James landed in a herky-jerky fashion, with all of his force coming down on his left leg. He braced himself with both hands and then his right leg whipped around. While it seemed like his knees and ankles on both legs could have been impacted by the fall, James lay on the baseline favoring his left knee; he didn’t leave the game but he could be seen massaging it as play continued. He initially looked to be a quarter-step slow on defense in the immediate aftermath of the play, but he recovered to put together his sensational close-out fourth quarter.

The Palm Beach Post reported that James will not undergo an MRI on his left knee, averting the Heat fan’s worst nightmare.

GALLERY: Longest winning streaks for each NBA franchise

28 comments
MattBugaj
MattBugaj

Worthless sensationalism in the headline. The team has been around for just over 20 years and has 2 championships, but tying the team's best winning streak is "HEAT SETS RECORD"? Oh boy.

pinguino43
pinguino43

Best athlete on the planet and second place is millions of miles away!!!

TimHarb
TimHarb

The big question I have is how many of his points are made off of travels.

JoeyGolden
JoeyGolden

 @JessicaWilliams90

 Really!!! The real King is dead! I think he appointed himself as the King! MJ is still the King, sorry! and Kobe is the second. Until he takes on 7 rings! he will never be the King.

JoeyGolden
JoeyGolden

 @MattBugaj

 They are just lucky that the East division is at the lowest of talent that I have seen in 30  years!!! the West is not far off, the talent is old, and thats another advantage. Love to have seen this team against the best Lakers, Celtics and Bulls and Pistons, and Sixers teams. and they didnt conspire to have a super star team like they did.

JoeyGolden
JoeyGolden

 @pinguino43

 Id love to see him play football and baseball!! there have been better and still are. he is lucky to be in such a down period of talent and power teams in the East division and the West is has old talent. I can name several who were better! One in mind, Bo Jackson, if he played basketball even half way decent , and he doesnt get hurt, we are still talking about him.

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@TimHarb I'd be worried if I were you. You just riled up Lebron's ex-girlfriends...

P0is0nedKoolA1
P0is0nedKoolA1

 @TimHarb I've heard of "reaching".........but wow. It must suck be such a degenerate loser that you have to make up the lame excuse of "travels" to downplay LeBron's greatness. I feel sorry for your mother : (

YuriStanton
YuriStanton

 @TimHarb Give me (and Lebron) a break. There are tons of other players who travel all the time. And there not even that good compared to the top names in NBA.

myplacegrill
myplacegrill

 @JoeyGolden  I am a Miami Homer all the was baby, since the 70's... I love everything Dolphins, Canes, Heat, Marlins and even Panthers (though not necessarily in that order). I hate bandwagoners - so that's not me... My canes have been horrible for almost a decade, and I still have season tix... We will agree to disagree on some points, but I think Kobe is past his prime currently, still dangerous but definitely on his way down. Greatest all around players now are LBJ, Durant, then Kobe and take your pick of Rose, Wade, CP3, etc... All around - meaning strong defense... MJ is the greatest of all time, but had to inprove his outside shooting AND defense while in the leage. Passing as well... Kobe came into the league the most complete all around, and he still hasn't surpassed MJ, and at this point I doubt he will... LBJ is STILL improving, as is Durant. Only time will tell, brother. But that's why they play, we watch, and debate... Good conversation...

JoeyGolden
JoeyGolden

@myplacegrill @JoeyGolden  There again, great thing is we all have our views. I say Kobe, is still the best, and Durant is right in the mix, even The "King" said he things Durant would give him trouble one on one with his long reach, Kobe could have done more if he wanted, you think he couldnt of had several scoring titles if he wanted them!!!  You think he can take both them one on one that easy, have you seen Kobe shoot??? seriously, he has the best fade away you cant stop it consistent jumper of all time, with MJ and Durant is pretty dam good, if it came to outside shooting , they both would smoke James and you know it, denial here would be so bias on your part, we both know, Kobe has had moments were he got James and vice verse,  and he has 17 years of game in him,more then anyone on the floor and he is still stroking them. Im not a Cavs fan, so i had no real reason to support them, but i do see foul when i see it. If he would have just walked away and let things just happen, like a gentleman , i would think much more of him. His game is power, to the hoop and Kobe and Durant have finess and game. This will be a debate forever and it wont matter, it will all come down to who you like. There are many more, to put in this mix, MJ for sure, Bird, Magic, DR.J. its just because its the now moment.and the league is week. One on one will be the only way to say and that will never happen. Was you a Heat fan before he came??? watch more college hoops , its better game!

myplacegrill
myplacegrill

 @JoeyGolden

 Hey say what you will, basketball is a TEAM sport, and while we can't remember the role players names from those great teams, the were vital to all the championships won. On the fact that your feelings are hurt or you feel what he did was in poor taste, none of this supports your marginalizing the current BEST (by FAR) player in the NBA. Why not go to a place where you have a chance to win a ring (for less than max money, btw) just so an owner can continue to use you as an ATM and not bring in talent around you? If I recall correctly, he carried the Cavs for the entire SEVEN YEARS he was there including taking them to the finals - with no help. Jordan waited 6 and only because he had no choice. He made a business decision, as I'm sure the owner would have made in a heartbeat if it were necessary to trade or cut him. There is no loyalty from owners, unless you're making them money. To fault a player for doing the same thing (make a business decision to increase his earnings) is bothbiased on your part and terribly shortsighted. Could he have handled it better? Sure... Have other players made embarassing decisions? Sure... Lebron is a model citizen on and OFF the court, and if he leaves in the next two years, we here in Miami will be uset, but grateful for the time he was here. There is only FAN loyalty to TEAM anymore... And all this STILL does not negate the fact that Lebron is the greatest all around pro basketball player in the NBA... Sorry...

JoeyGolden
JoeyGolden

 @myplacegrill

 Make no mistake here, I made it simple , I am a hater, no bias there, What he did as a person to the Cavs was out of line! No other athlete has ever put themselves on national TV to announce themselves like they are God almighty to what team he conspired to go to, all along stringing the team he loved so much??? along to the end of doom!! if your old enough to remember, The Celtics and Bird and Lakers and Magic, were all products of drafts!!! mostly and small trades, the only big trade for LA was Kareem , before Magic even came along.and yes , MJ did it with only Pippen!  SO why couldnt he do it with the Cavs and one other player, they would have made that happen if he gave them a chance. He had my support winning and going to a championship mostly with no one then he took the coward approach and opted for a superstar team. There was no trade here either. As far as im concerned he can win many with this team and they should all have an * beside them.Kobe, Bird, Magic, and others stayed with the same team, win or lose. Now days , there is no loyalty but only a select few. Its all money. Basketball sucks anymore, anyways, no defense!! its a joke, they travel like business men.  hey this is what makes sports , sports, you like them or you dont.

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@myplacegrill Nothing wrong with supporting your city...kudos to not being a bandwagoneer.

myplacegrill
myplacegrill

 @JoeyGolden  Same thing happened with the Larry Bird Celtics, and Magic's Showtime Lakers - teams FULL of Hall of Famers... I'll grant you Jordan only had Pippen and he is the GOAT, but Kobe had Shaq, and the later Celtics had the big three. Just admit you have a Lebron bias and stop trying to justify it with these ridiculous straw man arguments, man....

myplacegrill
myplacegrill

 @M as in Mancy       If I'm guilty of anything, it's of being a homer and loving ALL things MIAMI (not the crime rate, but): The U, Phins, Panthers, Marlins, and yes the Heat (we won a championship b/4 Lebron, JICYMI)... 

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@myplacegrill @M as in Mancy @TimHarb If that's a Seinfeld reference, all is forgiven! Please continue your passionate relationship with Lebron...not that there's anyothing wrong with that. BTW, only a sir would enjoy the chauvinistic, machoistic TV show my stupid internet comes from. The gals have too much sense.

JoeyGolden
JoeyGolden

 @myplacegrill  @M as in Mancy  @TimHarb

 Doesnt change the fact that the overall league talent is still terrible! The East has what, 1 maybe two teams that can compete, maybe they should join talent and form a super team then see how they do, the east is the worst in 30 years! the west , isnt far behind, the spurs/lakers are old! so all you have is the OKC and Clippers. Whats that tell you. its sickens me to here all the hype and how we all have forgotten how this team formed. Any team that puts 3 YOUNG superstars on the floor of only 5 guys should win!! they formed a team , that you could say if Kobe, MJ, and Barkley were to have done, Hell , yeah they should win.

myplacegrill
myplacegrill

 @JoeyGolden  @M as in Mancy  @TimHarb Sounds like a sore loser, JoeyGolden - your team won two of three from us this season and that's not talent. Don't make excuses or try to compare the incomparable with respect to eras, times, and guys in their prime. It's a strawman argument, and a lose/lose for anyone dumb enough to take you up on it... 

myplacegrill
myplacegrill

 @M as in Mancy  @myplacegrill  @TimHarb What do you care about my chin - a little proccupied with homosexual references aren't you? Not that there's anything wrong with that... Whatever works for you sir/ma'am/?? 

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@myplacegrill @TimHarb Outside of gambling I could care less about Lebron. But I enjoy antagonizing his ex-girlfriends. Here's the hot tip of the day: wipe your chin guy