Heat hold off the Knicks

February 28, 2009 7:36:38 PM PST
The New York Knicks made Dwyane Wade bleed. So he made them pay.

Wade scored 46 points, 15 of them coming in a dramatic 19-0 spurt that erased a huge deficit in the final nine minutes and carried the Miami Heat to a 120-115 win over the Knicks on Saturday night.

He tied a franchise record with 24 points in the fourth quarter, plus added 10 assists. Jermaine O'Neal scored 18 points and Jamario Moon added 17 for the Heat.

Nate Robinson led the Knicks with 29 points off the bench, but missed the 3-pointer that would have tied it in the final seconds.

Larry Hughes and Chris Duhon each scored 19 and David Lee had an 18-point, 13-rebound night for New York.

And think that Knicks-Heat rivalry from years ago is over? Think again.

Miami trailed 103-88 after Wade received a bloody lip and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra earned a technical for arguing why no foul was called. The Heat simply took over from there, with Wade scoring the game's next six points and breathing life into a team that desperately needed a win for its playoff hopes.

When Hughes tied it for New York with a 3-pointer with 1:19 left, Wade answered with a jumper to put Miami back on top.

The Heat wouldn't trail again.

It got testy plenty of times, including with 5:40 left when Robinson said something to O'Neal, the new Heat center took a step toward him, and double-technicals were called.

By then, Wade was in take-over mode anyway.

He was 7-for-11 from the floor in the fourth, 8-for-8 from the line, even doing so without his now-infamous Band-Wade on his cheek.

He might need one for his lip now.

Simply put, the Heat were reeling until the final minutes.

Robinson and Duhon were scoring at will, the Heat looked tired and on the brink of their second loss in as many nights.

Then Wade got going, adding another chapter to his already-storied Heat legacy.

The Knicks hit triple-figures in scoring for the 20th consecutive game, and it was obvious early they were going to get there. Duhon got it started, going 5-for-5 from the field - 4-for-4 from 3-point range - in the first 8 minutes, as the Knicks sprinted to a quick 22-14 lead.

When Robinson checked in, the Heat had absolutely no answer.

He hit 3-pointers, set up teammates, even outjumped people a foot taller than him for offensive rebounds. By halftime, in only 16 minutes, Robinson had 24 points on 9-for-12 shooting, to say nothing of an array of biceps-flexing and trash-talking directed to the Heat bench.

New York led by as many as 15 in the opening half, and Robinson's 15-footer with 1.7 seconds left gave the Knicks a 67-59 edge at intermission. They shot 10-for-15 in the half from 3-point range, and Robinson matched Cleveland's LeBron James for the biggest one-half scoring outburst against the Heat this season.

Miami got within 76-73 after the first five minutes of the third quarter, getting consistent stops for the first time and attacking the Knicks in the paint.

Then Robinson returned - and the game turned quickly back in New York's favor.

The Knicks closed the third on a 22-10 run, taking a 98-83 lead into the final 12 minutes. Hughes made a trio of 3-pointers in the final 4½ minutes of the third, giving New York more separation. And when Wade took a shot in the mouth that drew blood but no foul call, Spoelstra let the emotions show, drawing a technical with 8:36 left.

That changed everything.

Notes: Miami allowed more than 100 points for the 20th time this season, and is 5-15 in those contests. It was only the fifth time the Heat have given up triple figures in their last 22 games. ...

The Knicks are 22-7 when leading after three quarters, 1-27 when trailing. ... New York has gotten at least 39 points from its bench in 13 of its last 18 games. ... O'Neal had to take off his hard plastic knee brace midway through the second quarter after the Knicks complained the hinges were too sharp. He put it back on, with a different wrap, for the second half.


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