Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 23, 2012
The NBA roundup…
MIAMI — Jeremy Lin was no match for the Miami Heat.
Forcing Lin into easily the worst game of his remarkable run as New York’s starting point guard by running streams of defenders at him, Miami topped the Knicks 102-88 on Thursday night — the eighth straight win for the NBA-leading Heat, all of those wins coming by at least 12 points.
Chris Bosh scored 25 points, Dwyane Wade added 22 and LeBron James finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for Miami, which will go into the All-Star break with the NBA’s best record (27-7).
Lin’s final line: 1 for 11 from the field, eight points, three assists — a far cry from the 23.9 points and 9.2 assists he had been averaging over his first 11 games in the Knicks’ rotation, when he breathed immeasurable life into a team that was floundering.
On Thursday, he simply wasn’t the same player, turning the ball over eight times. His last miss came with 6 seconds left, the outcome already decided, and he simply walked quietly off the court into the locker room.
But for a while, the game lived up to the hype.
Spike Lee, Floyd Mayweather and Chad Ochocinco all sat within seven seats of each other on one sideline, Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison of the Miami Marlins were on another sideline, and members of the New York Mets’ front office reportedly jumped aboard a helicopter for the quick trip from the team’s spring-training home in Port St. Lucie down to Miami.
Even the First Fan took note of the hubbub surrounding the game.
“In another life, I would be staying for the Knicks-Heat game tonight, then going up to Orlando for NBA All-Star weekend,” President Barack Obama told cheering students at the University of Miami earlier in the day. “But these days, I’ve got a few other things on my plate. Just a few.”
But when Air Force One was headed to Orlando for a Thursday night fundraiser, yes, there were televisions tuned to Heat-Knicks on board.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 19 points, with J.R. Smith scoring 14 for New York off the bench.
“I’m sure they were all geeked up for him,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said of the Heat defense on Lin. “And they took the challenge and they did a great job. It’s hard to be Peter Pan every day.”
James became the NBA’s first player since 2008 to finish with at least 20 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, five steals and two blocks. The last one to do that? James himself.
“This has been about a three-week push for us and it’s a good way to end before the break,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I think everyone in that locker room needs a handful of days. We’ve been really focused … to make this push. We played a team that with more time they’re going to improve and become a very dangerous team. They already are right now.”
HAWKS 83, MAGIC 78
ATLANTA — Josh Smith scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to help Atlanta snap a three-game skid with an win over Orlando.
Jannero Pargo added 15 points and Willie Green had 14 for the Hawks.
J.J. Redick finished with 13 points and Dwight Howard had 12 for the Magic, who had won two straight and six of seven.
The Magic recovered from a 10-point second quarter by scoring 25 in the third to pull within three heading into the final period. Howard’s lay-in cut the lead to 69-68 with 4:42 left, but the Magic never got any closer.