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Miami Heat: Win over NY Knicks Shows LeBron James and Heat Still Title Favorites

LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony squared off at Madison Square Garden. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony squared off at Madison Square Garden. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Hugh RyanContributor IApril 16, 2012

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat managed to do what the Chicago Bulls could not.

The New York Knicks witnessed the Heat enter their house and leave with a 93-85 victory.

At 28-13, Miami had the NBA's best road record last season. This year, Miami has only managed a record of 17-13.

Going into yesterday's game, the Knicks had earned nine consecutive home wins. That's why the Miami Heat's triumph was so impressive.

Chris Bosh pulled down 14 boards -- his best rebounding performance since Feb. 2.

After sharing his desire to average a double-double this season, Bosh has only 11 games with 10 or more rebounds.

He poured in 16 points on 53 percent shooting.

As expected, Wade and James turned in virtuoso performances. They combined for 57 points on 50 percent shooting. They pulled down 19 rebounds. As a unit, this was one of their best performances of the season.

Carmelo Anthony left them with no choice but to deliver.

Anthony declared war on Miami's defense in the game's first moments. He racked up 22 points at the half and 42 for the game. He shot 14-of-27 from the field.

Anthony got to the line 15 times. He dished out five dimes and secured nine boards.

LeBron James cooled Carmelo Anthony off in the fourth quarter. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
LeBron James cooled Carmelo Anthony off in the fourth quarter. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)


He feasted on head coach Mike Woodson's isolation-heavy offense. He made Shane Battier's typically strong defense look weak.

But when the game was on the line, Anthony couldn't deliver. In the fourth quarter, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra put his best defender on Anthony.

For Melo, the heat was just too much.

When guarded by James, Anthony made only one of his five fourth-quarter shots. That those shots were all jumpers outside the paint might have played a role too.

Worse yet, Spoelstra is still tinkering with his lineups. But the Knicks failed to capitalize on the Heat's lack of offensive rhythm.

Miami and New York could very well square off in the first round of the playoffs.

Following yesterday's loss, the New York Knicks fell into the eighth seed. Now, the Knicks might want to stay there. After Miami brought out the broom for the season series, New York is likely to see it again in the playoffs' first round.

Most important, by stealing a road win against a quality, playoff-bound squad, the Heat show that they're gaining steam.

Consensus holds that the Bulls will meet the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. With one game left (it will be played this Thursday) Chicago leads the season series, 2-1.

Last year, the Bulls swept the Heat 3-0 in the regular season. Then came the playoffs, in which Miami easily dispatched Chicago, 4-1.


Yes, the Bulls deserve to be respected. They play harder than any other team...night in, night out. That's why they are poised to lead the NBA in wins for the second straight year.

In the playoffs, however, they will lose the advantage of their extra hustle and determination. When the postseason rolls around, every team gives their all. So the team with the most talent usually wins.

Even Chicago fans acknowledge that Miami is more talented. And now that Miami has regained their road mojo, the Bulls' home-court advantage means little.

So Chicago, enjoy your record as the NBA's premier regular-season team.

It could be your greatest success this season, because the Heat are looking to come into your house and break your hearts...again.

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