1:00 PM ET, April 6, 2014
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
He eventually got into form, just in time to perhaps doom the Knicks' playoff chances.
James scored 38 points and the Heat survived an NBA-record 22 3-point attempts from New York's J.R. Smith in a 102-91 victory that kept Miami atop the Eastern Conference standings.
"You do your job and you live with the results," James said. "We lived with the result of J.R. making some of those bombs."
Chris Bosh added 14 points and Ray Allen had 12 for the Heat (53-23), who are a full game ahead of Indiana (53-25) and two up in the loss column in the East race. The Pacers lost at home to Atlanta later Sunday night.
Smith was 11 for 28 from the floor, 10 for 22 from beyond the arc, and took 10 3s in the fourth quarter alone while Carmelo Anthony didn't attempt a single shot in the period.
The single-game mark was previously held by Damon Stoudemire, who hoisted 21 3s on April 15, 2005.
"It's not really been a goal of mine," Smith said. "I saw the open 3 and tried to take them. I had to take advantage."
Smith finished with 32 for the Knicks, who got 14 from Raymond Felton and 13 from Anthony on 4 for 17 shooting. Anthony has been bothered by a sore right shoulder, but played 44 minutes.
"Melo is still hurting," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "I couldn't rest him again tonight. That second half, he was giving us what he's got."
A bad day got worse for New York when the Hawks-Pacers game went final. The Knicks (33-45) are two games behind the Hawks in the race for the final playoff spot, three in the loss column. And New York has only four games left.
"Our fate is almost now in Atlanta's hands," Anthony said. "It's tough. ... My fate is in somebody else's hands."
The start suggested it would be a great day for the Knicks.
James had four turnovers in the opening minutes and New York -- which had its best opening 2½ minutes offensively in at least a decade, according to STATS LLC -- held a 16-3 lead.
"Flummoxing," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It was bizarre. Our turnovers were, no offense to the Knicks, absolutely unforced."
It was still 16-3 when Felton was whistled for a second early foul, and everything changed. The Knicks missed six straight shots and the Heat scored nine straight points. James -- who had one turnover in the final 3½ quarters -- settled down and things started going Miami's way.
"I wasn't awake yet," James said.
Miami got snippy with one another in plenty of huddles during the game, something that Spoelstra seemed to particularly relish.
"Verbally spitting at each other, I like it," Spoelstra said. "That's what we need to get ready for the second season."
Miami's lead was 15 with just under 9 minutes to go before the Knicks made it interesting. Iman Shumpert missed a wide-open 3 with 3:30 left that would have gotten New York within four. James answered a layup at the other end and after Smith made his ninth 3, Mario Chalmers answered with one of his own, making Miami's lead 97-88.
So Smith made another, giving the Knicks life. And Miami again answered, this time Bosh doing the long-range honors to restore the nine-point edge.
James had four turnovers by the time Miami scored six points. But he settled in before the quarter was over, outmuscling Tim Hardaway Jr. for what became a three-point play. Hardaway tried to wrap James up on a break, but the four-time MVP kept going, scored and then flexed a biceps muscle to the roaring crowd.
"Trying to make a play," James said.
And after that sizzling 14-point beginning, New York needed more than 13 minutes to score its next 14 points. A 31-10 run helped the Heat take as much as an eight-point lead in the second quarter, before the Knicks went into halftime up 50-48.
Miami found some breathing room by scoring the final seven points of the third. James laid it in while getting fouled with 4.1 seconds left -- and as "M-V-P" chants rained down he gave Miami its biggest lead to that point, making the free throw that put the Heat up 73-64 entering the fourth.
NOTES: Jeff Van Gundy worked the game for ABC, sitting three chairs away from former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, working for ESPN Radio. ... Bosh had no rebounds in the first half, then seven in the third quarter. ... A fan clad in Knicks garb caught a T-shirt thrown into the stands by a Heat dancer during the fourth quarter. He threw it back onto the court. ... Hardaway Jr. is 2 for 22 in two games in Miami this season.
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 6: LeBron James #6 and Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat prepare before the game against the...(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: A doff of the cap to J.R. Smith for setting the Knicks' record for 3-pointers made (10) and the NBA record for most attempts (22), but LeBron James was just an unstoppable force. If you ever doubted his pure strength, watch the play during which he bulled through Tim Hardaway Jr. like he was a clingy bit of seaweed.
LVP: He has had a superlative rookie campaign, but Tim Hardaway Jr. has really struggled versus the Heat. There's no one on the floor that he can credibly guard, and Sunday he bricked all seven of his shots.
Defining moment: In the final minute, Carmelo Anthony launched a series of awful, forced attempts, then compounded matters by lagging in transition, leading to an and-1 for LeBron, part of a 7-0 run that made it 73-64 to end the third quarter.
Next 5 Games
J.R. Smith attempted an NBA-record 22 3-point field goals Sunday. - Smith was quick to pull the trigger, with 17 of his 22 attempts coming on catch-and-shoots (a shot within 2 seconds of receiving a pass). Smith was 9 of 17 (52.9 percent) on these attempts, with the rest of the Knicks going 4 of 17 (23.5 percent). - When Smith shot off the dribble, he was only 1 of 5 on 3-pointers. - 14 of Smith's 22 attempts were contested. Smith was 6 of 14 on contested 3-pointers (42.9 percent) and 4 of 8 on open attempts. - Entering Sunday there were a combined 1,200 instances of a team playing a game this season and attempting fewer than 22 3-point field goals. That means 52 percent of the time this season teams have elected to shoot fewer 3-pointers than J.R. Smith did Sunday.
According to NumberFire the Pacers now have a 33% chance to get the 1-seed. After their March 26th 1-point win over the Heat they had an 86% chance to get home-court, along with a 3-game lead on Miami.[+]
Pct Chance to Get 1 Seed
J.R. Smith attempted 28 field goals Sunday but recorded 0 FGA and 0 points from inside the paint. Since 1996-97 (the StatsCube era)... Smith's 28 field goal attempts were the most with no paint attempts. Smith's 28 field goal attempts were the second most without a single paint point. Mike Bibby took 30 shots in 2006 against the Knicks and went 0-1 inside the paint.[+]
LeBron James is the fourth player in the last 25 years to score 30 points against the Knicks four times in a single season.[+]
Carmelo Anthony hurt his shoulder Wednesday, but has played through the injury in 2 games since. The results haven't been pretty. For the first time this season, Anthony has shot under 37.5% in consecutive games.[+]
Carmelo Anthony This Season
Dwyane Wade and Chris Andersen -- who were both out Sunday -- are the Heat's second and fourth leading scorers in the paint this season. Without the duo, LeBron James had to carry the load early and accounted for 12 of the Heat's 14 paint points. James went 10 of 11 inside the paint overall Sunday. The Heat outscored the Knicks by 10 in the paint the second half after entering half even in paint scoring.[+]
Heat Paint Points Sunday
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