Found May 01, 2012 on
Fox Sports Florida:
New York Knicks
MIAMI If games continue with each member of the Big III scoring XIX or more points, the Heat are good bets to be hoisting a trophy in MMXII.
If you don't know what the heck that means, consider Miami star LeBron James during this playoffs is wearing a mouthguard that reads on the front "XVI." That's Roman numerals for 16, which is how many postseason wins it will take the Heat to get James his first championship.
"You pay attention," James said to a reporter. "It's just inspirational. I know this is the biggest part of the season, the second part of the season, so it's just an inspiration for me."
James was speaking after his Heat on Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena beat New York CIV-XCIV. OK, enough of that.
The score was 104-94, which resulted in Miami taking a 2-0 lead in an East first-round series. To clarify the first paragraph of this story, all the members of the Big Three scored 19 or more points, the type of balance Miami needs to win it all in 2012.
And at least Chris Bosh, one of those three stars, now has found out what the writing on James' mouthguard means.
"I didn't even know," Bosh said after he was told. "I was wondering what that means. That (16) is the biggest number in the world. Not too many of us have gotten 16 wins in a playoffs. It's going to be the hardest thing to ever do. I think it's great symbolism."
The Heat's chances of winning 14 more games sure go up when stars Dwayne Wade (26), Bosh (21) and James (19) combine for such an evenly distributed 65 points. And it helps even more when those three guys get some scoring help.
The Knicks didn't know whom to guard on a night six Miami players reached double figures. Others getting there were starting point guard Mario Chalmers with 13 and reserve wings Shane Battier and Mike Miller each scoring 11.
But it all starts with the Big Three. When James, Wade and Bosh are all on in the same night, nobody is the NBA can contend with them.
James was the lowest scorer of the three, but he had seven rebounds and nine assists. When it became apparent the Knicks were putting a lot of focus early in the game on James, who had 32 points in 32 minutes in a 100-67 rout Game 1, Wade took over the scoring load.
"We come into the game with a game plan," said Wade, who had 11 points in the first quarter and 19 at halftime while taking immediate advantage of the absence of Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, lost for the season Saturday with a torn ACL. "Obviously, it depends on the game, how the flow is going for a guy or two guys. That's a luxury we have (with three stars). Last game, LeBron had it going and we all got out of his way, and let him dictate the game, and (Monday) we all were involved at different times."
Put it all together and it was a fun night for Wade and his teammates. That was readily apparent late in the first quarter after the Heat had taken the lead and Knicks guard Mike Bibby lost a shoe.
Before Bibby could retrieve it, Wade picked it up and threw it out of bounds. Bibby, who played last season with the Heat, did not appear amused, but Wade was.
"I'd never done that before, but it was fun," Wade said. "I love messing with Mike. We both wear the same brand (Nike Jordan) so I said to him (that) he should have had my shoe on. So I threw it."
After the game, Wade's teammates had fun with him. He missed a dunk early in the fourth quarter, and the ball soared upward.
"It was the one of the highest bouncing balls off the rim I've ever seen," James said. "The roof was about to come off on that one."
There was little to laugh about, though, on the Knicks' side. After the loss, forward Amare Stoudemire smacked the glass covering a fire extinguisher outside the visitor's locker room, injuring his left hand. There were drops of blood later seen on the carpet.
Medical personnel had to be called to attend to Stoudemire, who left with his hand wrapped. Knicks center Tyson Chandler doesn't expect Stoudemire to play in Thursday's Game 3 in New York.
"Am so mad at myself right now," Stoudemire tweeted late Monday night. "I want to apologize to the fans and my team, not proud of my actions, headed home for a new start."
Other than forward Carmelo Anthony, who came back from an 11-point showing in Game 1 to score 30 Monday, nothing seems to be going right now for the Knicks. But James has other things to be concerned about.
"What's going on in this locker room is all I care about," James said when asked about the incident surrounding Stoudemire. "I think it's very unfortunate Hopefully, (the injury is) not bad But my focus is right here now on this locker room."
Overall, James' focus is on a title. That's why he had the mouthguard specially made before the playoffs.
"It's 16 games, but I know it starts with one at a time," James said.
The way the Heat are playing in this series and with the Knicks falling apart, James' quest could begin with a IV-game sweep. And that needs no translation.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson
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