The Miami Heat held on for a 99-93 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon.
The physical play from both men showed their teams that they needed to step up as well, resulting in a hard-fought game with its fair share of playoff-caliber battles.
While Miami won and looks bound for great things with James playing as well as he is this season, the Knicks were able to expose a couple of serious flaws in Miami's game in this possible postseason preview.
After four quarters and 37 minutes on the floor, Heat power forward Chris Bosh had just one rebound. That's not acceptable.
The rest of the team covered for his lackluster performance, but Miami needs the supporting cast around James to step up in big situations or the franchise will not have what it takes to win a seven-game series against a team with a powerful low-post presence.
The same can be said for Anthony and the Knicks' need for secondary scoring.
New York shot poorly Sunday, and beyond the amazing 32-point performance from Anthony, no player topped 14 points.
While the team stepped up defensively and made the Heat work for their points, the shot selection and play execution weren’t crisp enough to beat a team as talented as Miami.
The Knicks know how much it will take to beat the Heat now, though.
There is little doubt that this matchup has the potential to happen in the postseason. So if the Knicks want to have a chance in that series, they must learn from this tough loss.
Player of the Game: LeBron James, Miami Heat
James has been the MVP of the NBA so far this season, and another stellar performance against the Knicks in their building proved his mettle once again.
Not only did James go off for 29 points with Anthony as one of the defenders doing his best to slow him down, but the Heat star also came up with 11 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a block for good measure.
How’s that for an MVP-worthy performance?
Up Next for the Miami Heat
The Heat are not only the cream of the crop in the Eastern Conference, but they also are unquestionably the best team in the league.
The Heat aren’t perfect, though.
Miami has a stretch of upcoming games against struggling teams, and despite walking out of Sunday's matchup as the winners of 14 straight games, taking any team for granted over the next few weeks will stop the team’s momentum.
Up Next for the New York Knicks
While the Knicks are still one of the most talented teams in the Eastern Conference, their lack of consistent play recently should be a serious concern.
New York may have won three in a row coming into Sunday’s matchup with the Heat, but the Knicks have lost six of their last 10 games and continue to struggle to find any sort of consistent rhythm.
The Knicks have a tough schedule coming up—Oklahoma City, Golden State, Utah and Denver within the next 10 days. So the team must quickly find its identity to be a real threat in the postseason.