The new look New York Knicks, with Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, stopped a seven-game home winning streak by the Miami Heat last night with an impressive 91-86 victory. The Big Three on Broadway, Anthony, Billups, and Amar’e Stoudemire, all made key plays with under 65 seconds left in the game to seal the victory, highlighted by a clutch three and steal by Billups and a block by Stoudemire of a LeBron James lay-up attempt that would have given the Heat the lead in front of a star-studded crowd at the American Airlines Arena.
The Knicks scored the first basket of the game on a jumper from Stoudemire but trailed most of the game, as the Heat went up by as much as 15, 51-36, on a Chris Bosh jump shot with 4:24 left in the second quarter. The Knicks would storm back with a 16-0 run to close out the first half, highlighted by a three-point bank shot by Bill Walker to end the half.
The game would remain close, with the Heat taking a 84-78 lead with 3:04 left in the game on a lay up by James, but the Knicks would close it out with a 13-2 run for the win, with Billups scoring 5, Shawne Williams 4, and Anthony and Stoudemire 2 apiece in that stretch.
“We did a great job of communicating down the stretch” Amar’e Stoudemire said after the game, adding also that it was “definitely a big win.”
“Definitely a playoff-type atmosphere. Now it’s up to us to do it every night” Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game. When speaking of his new and improved team, D’Antoni said “The bigger the stage, the bigger they play. This gives a glimpse of what we can be.”
Anthony led the Knicks with 29 points and 9 rebounds, while Stoudemire and Billups each scored 16 points. Stoudemire added 10 rebounds. Bill Walker came off the bench to score 10 points and grab 7 rebounds.
James led the Heat with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Bosh scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Dwyane Wade, who averaged 33.3 points in the first three games against the Knicks, scored only 12 points on 5-15 shooting, with 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Mike Miller scored 10 points and grabbed 4 rebounds off the bench.
“The atmosphere was great. It brings the best out of everybody.”
When asked about the clutch three Billups hit to give the Knicks the lead, Bosh said “Is that a good shot? Who knows. But when it’s Chauncey, it’s a high-percentage shot for him.” James added “Chauncey, sometimes people forget about him, but we never do.”
“It’s a shot that I like to shoot,” Billups said. “It’s kind of a far shot, but it’s in my range and I knocked it down.”
Actor Michael Clarke Duncan, boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather, tennis star Venus Williams, musician Lil’ Wayne, and film-maker Spike Lee were all on hand to witness the first match-up featuring four NBA All-Star game starters since March 1997, when the Chicago Bulls met the Seattle Supersonics.
The Knicks head north to Orlando to play the Magic tomorrow at 7pm.