Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Heat unleashed
New York looked like the team that could beat Miami. The team had shooters, an elite scorer and big men able to defend and keep LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the perimeter. Having all three of these things seems incredibly essential even to have a chance to defeat Miami once -- let alone, four out of seven times.
Indeed, the Knicks had seemed like the Heat's Achilles' heel in defeating the Heat twice by 20 points in the teams' two previous meetings.
New York took a 16-point lead in the first half behind Jason Kidd's superb shooting performance and Carmelo Anthony scoring at a scary efficient rate. All that came to an end in the second half.
Miami put LeBron James on Anthony and Melo saw his scoring rate decrease. Miami ratcheted up the defense and New York struggled to make shots. And so there came the Heat, like a freight train, overtaking the Knicks and scoring a 99-93 win over to extend their win streak to a franchise best 14 games.
Miami got exactly what it needed in that dominant second half, forcing New York to settle for difficult three pointers and limiting the turnovers that helped New York build its lead in the first half. The Knicks were unable to put the champs away and paid for it in the end with James and Dwyane Wade pouring on an onslaught of offense in the end.
2: Downward spiral
Meanwhile, things at the bottom of the Eastern Conference could not look much bleaker, especially considering the weakness of this year's Draft.
The Charlotte Bobcats took one on the chin in suffering a 119-83 loss to the Kings at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. The Bobcats gave up a 43-point third quarter and trailed by 40 points at one point in the season. Charlotte continues to lead the race for the league's worst record.
In Orlando, the Magic trailed by as much as 32 points in a 108-82 loss to the Grizzlies. Memphis never trailed and had control of the game from the very beginning. The defense suffocated Orlando's offense and prevented any of the team's young players from getting going.
The Magic and Bobcats are settled uncomfotably at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. This year's draft is not considered a particularly good one to have the top pick int he draft. Both these teams sem well on their way to having the best chance of claiming the top pick. This race to the bottom already seems pretty ugly. These games are extremely tough to watch.
Ginobili takes a hit
Boozer finds a way
4: Line of the Night: Kobe Bryant -- 34 points
Oh, just another 30-point game for Kobe Bryant. He makes these seem so easy. But this one was different because it helped the Lakers get back to .500 for the first time since mid-December and because Bryant scored points 33 and 34 on a layup with nine seconds left that gave Los Angeles the critical 99-98 win at home.
5: You can quote me on that
It feels like we're playing some good basketball right now.
-Heat forward LeBron James on the Heat's 14-game win streak
I like the ball at the end of the games. With those type of plays, you want to be the hero. You want to have the pressure. Sometimes you’re going to succeed. Sometimes you’re going to fail, but as long as you have confidence and believe in yourself, you’ll be all right.
--Wizards guard John Wall after leading the Wizards to a 90-87 win over the 76ers