The Knicks won their season-best 9th straight game tonight 102-90 against their most lethal threat and rival, the Miami Heat. Despite the absence of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Mario Chalmers, the Knicks got off to a slow defensive start. They were allowing the Heat shooters to use pick-n-rolls to create space and get open looks, especially Mike Miller who scored 13 points in the second quarter.
In the end, the only Heat that prevailed in this game was coming off of Carmelo Anthony’s stroke who tied his career-high in points with 50 on 18/26 shooting. Not only was Melo having a strong outing, his release seemed particularly smooth and quick and he was able to utilize it in just about every possible offensive situation he found himself in. The Knicks defense stepped up and made a couple of big stops down the stretch and the Knicks were able to take their 9th straight win and three out of the four games they will play against Miami this season.
Knicks Game MVP – Carmelo Anthony. He was getting it done from baseline fadeaways to mid-range jumpers to three-point shots and everything in between. He reached his career-high of 50 for the third time on 18/26 shooting and also contributed two rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block with ZERO turnovers.
Knicks Game LVP – The Knicks 2nd Quarter Defense. Since Tyson Chandler was coming back from an injury, there was no player that noticeably stood out as the culprit who held the Knicks back tonight. As a unit, however the Knicks were outscored 33-23 in the second quarter, including 13 points from Mike Miller who gave the Heat a 58-50 lead at halftime and a big momentum boost heading into the locker room.
Play Of The Night – Kenyon Martin dunking on his old teammate on Denver, “The Birdman” Chris Anderson. Martin took off from a couple of feet further back than Knicks fans would have been comfortable with but he was able to flush it down on the high-flying shot-blocker. This not only gave the Knicks a momentum push but it also made a statement that Kenyon Martin can be counted on to create a big spark in the postseason.
Turning Point – The Knicks lead was never certain until Tyson Chandler’s monster block that led to a J.R. Smith “dagger” three-pointer. From there the Heat’s play proceeded to get increasingly desperate and sloppy and the Knicks held on for a big win on the road.
What’s Next – The Knicks move into second place in the Eastern Conference. They are tied with Indiana and have a 5.5 game lead on Brooklyn. They take on the 5th place Hawks tomorrow at 7:00 PM ET in Atlanta where they will look to put their current winning streak in double digits.