8:30 PM ET, February 1, 2014
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
The New York Knicks have turned things around on a long homestand, though none of their victories have come against impressive competition.
They'll see if their winning ways will hold up against a contender Saturday night when they try to knock off the visiting Miami Heat for a second time in just over three weeks.
New York (19-27) has won four in a row at Madison Square Garden after starting its eight-game homestand with three straight losses. The Knicks are averaging 116.5 points during the win streak while going 47 of 99 from 3-point range (47.5 percent).
"It is starting to feel a lot better here on our home court to win basketball games," said Carmelo Anthony, shooting 49.4 percent from 3-point range in 16 contests since returning from a sprained ankle. "We're just trying to keep it going."
But the Knicks, who are 7-16 against teams with a .500 or better record entering the weekend, may not have impressed many with victories over sub-.500 foes Charlotte, the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston and Cleveland.
Another win over the Heat -- whom they defeated 102-92 on Jan. 9 -- would surely command more attention. New York, which went 10-6 in January after a 9-21 start to the season, has won four of five in the series, all by at least 10 points. Anthony has averaged 36.6 points in his last five versus Miami.
The Heat (32-13) concluded a mediocre month -- by their standards -- with an 8-6 record following a 112-95 home loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday. They led by as many as 18 points in the first quarter before suffering their most lopsided home loss since LeBron James and Chris Bosh came to Miami.
Dwayne Wade had 15 points, his most productive game in three weeks as he's been in-and-out of the lineup with knee problems.
The Heat have allowed 15 opponents to shoot 50.0 percent or better from the field this season, with seven of those contests coming in January. Oklahoma City shot 51.3 percent and went 16 of 27 from beyond the arc.
"We have some work to do," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We're like everybody else in the league. Nobody is infallible. We have some things to improve on. We know the things we have to improve on. We're not there yet."
The Thunder converted 21 Miami turnovers into 25 points. New York hurt the Heat in similar fashion in the first meeting with 19 points off 15 turnovers.
James scored 32 against the Knicks on 12-of-17 shooting while Anthony went 12 of 24 for 29 points. The teams shot a combined 54.0 percent, but New York claimed a 43-32 rebounding advantage.
The Knicks come off a 117-86 win over the Cavaliers on Thursday, with Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr. each scoring 29. J.R. Smith tallied 19 while starting in place of Iman Shumpert, who is day-to-day with a sprained right shoulder.
Smith is averaging 17.0 points on the homestand and is 10 of 18 from 3-point range during the win streak. He was benched against Miami by coach Mike Woodson a day after being fined by the league for multiple acts of unsportsmanlike conduct.
It's unclear if Kenyon Martin and Amare Stoudemire, both dealing with ankle issues, will be able to play. Martin has missed six of New York's last seven games while Stoudemire has sat out seven straight.
Bosh was 3 of 10 with only six points in the first meeting and is shooting just 36.9 percent in his last five games versus New York.
Last 5 Games
Team Stat Leaders
From Elias: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are the 4th trio of teammates in NBA history to be selected to 4 straight All-Star games. The last trio do so were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy spanning the 1985-86 season to 1988-89.[+]
Most Consecutive All-Star Game Selections - Trios in NBA History
J.R. Smith is in double figures for the 9th straight game (longest streak this season)
Although Carmelo Anthony was 8-of-17 (47.1%) from the field for 26 points, he struggled to find his rhythm from the floor as Shane Battier denied or fronted him on 21 of his 35 touches with Battier guarding him (56 total touches). Two of Anthony's made field goals came with fewer than 5 seconds on the shot clock and were tough and contested. Anthony's 56 touches Saturday, were below his season average of 70 touches per game according NBA.com player tracking data.
- Five of Anthony's seven turnovers came with Battier defending him.
...and contributes on offense
On a night where Chris Bosh was 2-of-11 from the floor for 4 points, Battier went 5-of-8 from the floor for 16 points including 4-of-7 from behind the arc.
Dwyane Wade has played in each of Miami's last 3 games after missing 4 straight games due to knee issues. He scored 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting against the Knicks. The Heat are 26-7 with Wade in the lineup compared to 7-6 without him.[+]
Heat With and Without Dwyane Wade This Season
LeBron James (30 points) and Dwyane Wade (22 points) combined to score nearly 50% of the Heat's points Saturday. Both players were aggressive in getting to the basket, attempting 19 of their 37 field goals 10 feet and inside.[+]
- 33 Heat points came off of either James or Wade post up or drives. They average 23.1 points per game combined on post ups and drives. *Drive data provided by NBA.com player tracking.
ESPN Stats & Information