NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 25th (All times eastern)
Miami Heat (14-12) at New York Knicks (11-17), 12:00 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The NBA's Christmas Day action kicks off at historic Madison Square Garden today, when the resurgent New York Knicks host their old rival, the Miami Heat.
The Knicks won for the third straight time and for the seventh time in nine games on Tuesday at MSG when Al Harrington led the way with 20 points off the bench, and David Lee netted 18 points and pulled down 21 rebounds, as New York held on for an 88-81 victory over Chicago.
"He's worked harder than anybody the last several years. And his defense is better," Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni said of Lee.
New York almost pulled a "Chicago" a night after the Bulls saw a 35-point third-quarter lead evaporate into the night in a stunning loss to the Sacramento Kings. The Knicks had a 22-point lead drop to one point at 80-79 on a Joakim Noah jumper with 1:41 on the clock.
The Knicks, however, staved off the furious rally, starting with two Lee free throws off one of his five offensive rebounds, then the Bulls missed two jumpers and turned the ball over in the next 30 seconds.
New York sealed the win on Danilo Gallinari's two free throws with 2.8 seconds left, giving the home team a two-possession edge at 86-81. Gallinari scored 11 points to go along with seven rebounds, Wilson Chandler donated 16 points and Jared Jeffries contributed 10 for the Knicks, who remained perfect in the first three tests of a five-game homestand.
New York will finish its residency vs. San Antonio on Sunday.
The Heat, meanwhile, are coming off an impressive win on their home floor, an 80-70 triumph over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. Dwyane Wade finished with 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists in that one.
Both teams had their lowest point total of the season, while also allowing a season-low in points, as each shot below 40 percent. However, the Heat took the victory after scoring 28 points off 21 Jazz turnovers, despite committing 15 themselves.
Udonis Haslem had 12 points and 11 boards for the Heat, who bounced back from a loss to Portland on Sunday. Quentin Richardson added 11 points and seven rebounds.
It was still a tight game nearly midway through the third when Miami rattled off nine consecutive points. Dwyane Wade had three baskets in the run, including a jumper to end the rally and make it a 51-39 game.
"We needed it," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Wade's offense. "You can defend every possession, but if you're not putting the ball in the basket it can be discouraging."
Miami has won three straight over the Knicks, including a 115-93 rout in South Beach earlier this season.
12/25 10:27:33 ET