Posted April 03, 2013 on AP on Fox
Carmelo Anthony tied his career high with 50 points and the New York Knicks won their ninth straight game, topping the injury-depleted Miami Heat 102-90 on Wednesday night. Anthony finished 18 of 26 from the field, reaching 50 on a jumper with 16.9 seconds remaining. J.R. Smith scored 14 and Raymond Felton added 10 for New York. Chris Bosh scored 23 points for Miami, which played without LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers, all held out with injuries that are not believed to be serious. Mike Miller scored 18, Ray Allen finished with 16 and Norris Cole had 14 for the Heat, whose 17-game home winning streak was snapped. The Knicks beat the Heat in three of their four regular-season matchups. They likely would not meet again before the Eastern Conference finals. Miami's magic number for clinching home-court throughout the NBA playoffs remained at five, and the Heat already have the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference wrapped up. The Knicks now lead Brooklyn by five games in the race for the Atlantic Division title. It was only Miami's second loss in its last 31 games. Much of the star power was taken out of the equation more than eight hours before game time, when the Heat announced that James, Wade and Chalmers would not play. James has a sore hamstring, and Wade and Chalmers are dealing with ankle sprains. All are listed as day-to-day. ''The No. 1 thing, obviously, is try to get as healthy as we can,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''Obviously, that's a priority. From there, we have time to still try to improve - not just stay in rhythm, but to improve, and also get these guys an opportunity that haven't been getting minutes to play in these meaningful minutes. We didn't script San Antonio or this like this to happen, but that's what this league is about. It's unpredictable.'' Anthony surely did not mind their absences. He made three shots, a combined 65 feet of swished jumpers, in the game's first 2:17 as the Knicks ran out to an 8-0 lead. Plenty of blue-and-orange shirts in the Miami crowd roared, and the early indications were that Anthony was on his way to a monster night and the Knicks were on their way to a blowout victory. That assessment was half-right. Anthony came in averaging 27.5 points and was practically there by halftime with 27 on 9-for-12 shooting - a display the Knicks absolutely needed, since Miami more than held its own without James, Wade and Chalmers. After trailing by as many as nine early, Miami actually roared back to lead 58-50 at the half. Miller and Cole combined for 30 at the break; Miller's 18 were five more than he had scored in any game this season. Anthony - who had one more field goal than every other Knick managed, combined, in the first 24 minutes - didn't exactly cool off at halftime. By the time the third quarter was 4 minutes old, Anthony was up to 37 points and, other than two fouls, absolutely nothing else. No rebounds, no assists, no steals, no blocked shots. Just scoring. His first rebound came with 7:02 left in the third, and his first assist came as the clock was expiring to end the period, setting up Steve Novak for a 3-pointer from the right corner that allowed New York to take a 78-76 lead into the final 12 minutes. Anthony actually went 10 minutes without scoring, then made two jumpers - the second a 3-pointer - 40 seconds apart, giving the Knicks a 95-88 lead with 3:32 left. The Heat had tied the game twice in the fourth, but never led after Novak's 3 that closed the third. NOTES: It was the fourth time in 25 career games, including playoffs, that Anthony eclipsed the 40-point mark against the Heat. ... Wade and James looked on intently as the Heat showed a video to promote the looming playoffs after the third quarter. Wade shimmied his shoulders a bit afterward, and James started to nod at one of the final images - his sideline dance in the final seconds of Game 5's title-clinching win over Oklahoma City last June. ... Rapper Flo Rida was at the game, as was actor Andy Garcia and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. ... Of the Knicks' nine remaining games, six are against likely playoff-bound teams.
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