Heat finish off Knicks
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - LeBron James had a solid all-around effort with 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and the Miami Heat dominated the shorthanded New York Knicks, 106-94, to win their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series in five games.
The Heat, seeded second, will play Indiana in the conference semifinals. The third-seeded Pacers finished off Orlando in five games Tuesday night. The series starts Sunday afternoon in Miami.
"We've played some great ball against them," James said. "I think we gave them more problems than they gave us. It's going to be a great series."
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each tallied 19 points, while Mario Chalmers scored 10 for the Heat. But it was James who forced the action all night, going 13- of-15 from the foul line. Overall, Miami missed just five of its 34 foul shots.
Carmelo Anthony had 35 points on 15-of-31 shooting for New York. J.R. Smith went just 3-of-15 from the field and had 12 points. Amare Stoudemire ended with 14 points, but he fouled out.
Trying to get back to the NBA Finals for a second straight year, the Heat dominated the Knicks in what turned out to be the finale of the best-of-seven series after suffering an 89-87 loss at Madison Square Garden Sunday. That snapped New York's string of an NBA-record 13 straight playoff defeats, but the Knicks were no match for Miami's Big Three and haven't been out of the first round since 2000.
"In the future, I feel good about competing against the top teams in the Eastern Conference," Anthony said. "I do consider our team being up there, top three, top four teams in the East. We just have to get better and go from there."
The seventh-seeded Knicks were beset with injuries before and during this series. Stoudemire missed Game 3 with an injured left hand which he suffered when he punched a fire extinguisher after a loss in Game 2. Veteran point guard Baron Davis, who was starting in place of the injured Jeremy Lin, suffered devastating knee injuries in Game 4. Also, defensive stalwart Iman Shumpert was lost to a torn ACL in a 33-point Game 1 setback.
"It's really a shame the injuries they went through," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Nobody wants to see it. We want to play teams at their best. We were able to persevere."
Mike Bibby scored eight in the first quarter to keep the Knicks close, but an aggressive James factored big in moving the Heat to a 28-24 lead after 12 minutes. He made 7-of-8 from the charity stripe in the period.
A jumper from Smith tied the game at 22 in the final two minutes, but Shane Battier sank one from beyond the arc to move the hosts in front for good. After Stoudemire's dunk, Mike Miller drained a three-ball with 47.1 seconds left for the four-point difference after one period.
The story of the second quarter was Miami's domination on the glass. They held a 13-5 rebounding advantage and were able to open a double-digit cushion.
Anthony's jumper cut New York's deficit to 45-42, but Chalmers drained a three to start a half-ending 10-2 flurry. Wade, who scored 12 in the quarter, capped the burst by sinking a bank shot. He was fouled by Smith on the play with 31.1 seconds left and drained the free throw to account for the 55-44 halftime margin.
Anthony accounted for half of New York's eight made field goals in the third, but a cold-shooting Smith hurt a chance at a comeback. He missed all seven of his shots in the period.
With James and Bosh as catalysts in the third, combining for 16 points, the Heat continued to pull away. The Knicks got within eight nearly midway through the quarter, but Miami responded with a 14-4 run, finished by a James jumper, for a 78-60 advantage with 1:29 to go.
"They made plays coming back the other way," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "That's what great teams do."
Facing an 81-67 deficit moving to the fourth, the Knicks never got within single digits over the final 12 minutes.
The only playoff meeting between the Pacers and Heat came in 2004 in the East semifinals with Indiana winning in six games. Miami won three of the four encounters this season...Bibby scored 10, two less than teammate Landry Fields...Miami went 9-of-19 from three-point range.
05/09 22:59:15 ET