The New York Knicks stood their ground against the Miami Heat tonight, finally vanquishing an opponent that took two games from them earlier this season. Without Chris Bosh, the Heat relied heavily LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and the Knicks proved mostly up to the task of contesting them. A carousel of Danilo Gallinari, Shawne Williams and several other Knicks did a superb job of hanging with James and limiting him to tough, hurried attempts from inside and out. Wade, who was sporting a pair of orange-tinted specs after suffering from migraines, was also well defended, but shot out of his mind through the first three quarters (perhaps those goggles require further inspection). Other than that, the Heat couldn't get much going. James Jones his five big threes for Miami, but no other role player stepped up down the stretch. Erik Spoelstra's crew took a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter, but they just couldn't match the Knicks' chemistry and energy, and the Heat's main guns (well, two of three) weren't enough by themselves.
On offense, Amar'e Stoudemire was solid, but he didn't have to shoulder the burden in crunchtime. The Heat, as they tend to do, collapsed on Stoudemire's rolls to the rim (Amar'e scored 24 anyway) and dared other Knicks to punish them from outside. Until late, nobody could make the Heat pay, but once it mattered, two Knicks stepped up. Gallinari mirrored his fine defensive performance with two huge three-pointers in the game's final minutes, while Landry Fields rounded out a night of 19 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists with two bombs of his own. That 4-4 outside in the final six minutes put the Knicks ahead, and Raymond Felton's four clutch free throws kept Miami at arm's reach until the final buzzer.
The Knicks now carry their two-game win streak to Atlanta, where they'll face the Hawks Friday night.
See Posting and Toasting for more Knicks coverage.