The New York Knicks have spent their 2012-13 season proving they can win without Amar'e Stoudemire. On Thursday, the team proved it could beat the defending NBA champions without both Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony—at least for one night.
New York went on the road Thursday night and eviscerated the Miami Heat, 112-92, behind a scintillating performance from Raymond Felton and top-notch play from the bench.
Felton stepped up without Anthony against Miami and became the team's de facto No. 1 scoring option. The Knicks point guard shot 10 threes in the contest, which isn't exactly the soundest blueprint on most nights. Nevertheless, it worked against the Heat, as Felton knocked down six beyond the arc on his way to scoring a season-high 27 points.
In fact, the three-point arc was New York's saving grace on Thursday. The Knicks shot a whopping 44 times from distance, making 18 of those attempts.
Meanwhile, if Heat fans are looking for a scapegoat, look no further than two-thirds of the team's vaunted Big Three. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined to score just 25 points on 6-of-25 shooting and had a plus-minus ratio of -54 on Thursday.
LeBron James, on the other hand, nearly had a triple-double. The reigning NBA MVP scored 31 points, grabbed 10 boards and dished out nine assists, but could not single-handedly prop his team up against a red-hot Knicks squad.
Player of the Game: Raymond Felton
Justifiably criticized for his shot selection at times, Felton was nothing short of extraordinary when his team needed him the most. Not only did the former Tar Heel drop 27 points, but he also dished out seven assists, grabbed four rebounds and made two steals on Thursday.
Not too bad for a guy who was known as "Not Jeremy Lin" by many Knicks fans a few months ago.
What's Next for the Knicks?
The 14-4 Knicks will get Friday off before traveling to the United Center to take on the Chicago Bulls.
What's Next for the Heat?
Losers of two-straight games, the 12-5 Heat will also get a 24-hour break prior to their home matchup against the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday.