The New York Knicks smacked of playoff desperation as they visited the Miami Heat for a Sunday matinee, and with their best player far from his best, the Knicks fell 102-91 to sound a death knell on their season.
With four games left to play, the Knicks (33-45) fell three games in the loss column behind the eighth-place Atlanta Hawks (33-42).
Carmelo Anthony battled through a shoulder injury, and it showed. He scored 13 points while missing 13 of his 17 field-goal attempts. He did not attempt a shot in the fourth quarter.
Consequently, J.R. Smith launched what seemed like a thousand three-point attempts, but it was actually a mere NBA-record 22. He connected on 10 of them, setting a Knicks franchise record, and finished with 32 points. His 24 triples in a three-game span also smashed the previous record of 20.
LeBron James led all scorers with 38 points. New York could not stop Miami's offense, which shot 56 percent from the field even with Dwyane Wade (hamstring) sitting out once again. Greg Oden (back) and Chris Andersen (knee) also missed the game.
Chris Bosh turned in 14 points, and Mario Chalmers added 15. Udonis Haslem grabbed 11 rebounds and tied Alonzo Mourning for the most offensive boards in Heat history.
The Knicks jumped out to a 13-point lead early in the game, but they needed a comeback to seize a 50-48 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was their undoing, as Miami won the period 25-14 and closed on a 7-0 run. That was facilitated by Anthony taking a shot with 10 seconds left and the shot clock turned off, as a LeBron three-point play capped off the quarter.
The Knicks have off until Friday when they visit the Toronto Raptors, but the Hawks play three times before then, and every Atlanta win deals the Knicks a devastating blow. The final three games are all in New York, with the Chicago Bulls and Raptors sandwiched around a trip to the Brooklyn Nets.
The Heat (53-23) jump a half-game ahead of the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern standings, with the Pacers hosting the Hawks on Sunday night. Miami hosts the Nets on Tuesday and finishes the back-to-back with a visit to the Memphis Grizzlies.