Wade, Williams Lead Heat Past Knicks
Miami 103, New York 83
NEW YORK, Feb. 22 (Ticker) -- Even if Steve Francis was in the lineup, the New York Knicks might have had trouble on Wednesday.
Francis was on the bench but did not play, watching Dwyane Wade and Jason Williams score 24 points apiece as the Miami Heat cruised to a 103-83 victory over the woeful Knicks.
Guard Stephon Marbury was in the lineup after missing eight games, but that did not prevent the Knicks from trailing, 26-18, at the end of the first quarter after the Heat closed the session with a 17-7 burst.
"We need to put a foundation down and play more consistent," Marbury said. "We are not doing that."
Williams, who matched his season high, scored 10 points in the second quarter while Wade, an All-Star, added nine as Miami built a 57-38 lead at intermission.
"That's something we needed out of (Williams)," Wade said. "He's got to hold his end of the bargain. I told him that this morning and he did that tonight."
The Heat, who have won nine of their last 11 games, held a 21-point advantage before rookie Channing Frye scored six of his 17 points during a 13-2 charge that got the Knicks within 63-53 with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter.
Wade responded by scoring seven points in an 11-0 run that gave the Southeast Division leaders a margin that was not threatened thereafter.
"The game got away from us during the last two minutes (of the first half)," New York coach Larry Brown said. "We cut it to 10, had the ball and then had the ball and then had a turnover (and never seemed to recover)."
"We started to play well at the end of the (third) quarter," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "From that point on, I thought defensively we did a good job. We moved the ball real well, we had other guys step up."
It was not a strong shooting night for Wade, who was just 5-of-16 from the field. He was 14-of-17 from the line but fell short of a fourth straight 30-point game.
"Our continuity was good," Wade said. "Of course there was a little rust. We had a lot of anxiousness, I know on my part and other guys' part. There is a lot of rust, but guys played with a lot of energy."
Antoine Walker added 16 points while Shaquille O'Neal battled through foul trouble and finished with 15 points. O'Neal also neutralized New York center Eddy Curry by limiting him to four points and forcing him to foul out in just 17 minutes.
"We are coming together and we played against a team we are supposed to beat," O'Neal said. "We just have to keep it coming, keep winning games. The team played well. Everybody played hard and it's a good start for us."
Once the Heat turned the game into a rout, the only action was a near skirmish between O'Neal and New York's Malik Rose midway through the fourth quarter. The 330-pound O'Neal shoved the 250-pound Rose, drawing an offensive foul, and then threw the ball in anger at Rose, which resulted in technical foul.
"The double harm on Shaq is absolutely ridiculous," Riley said. "We all know the rule. He's quite frankly tired of it."
There were 28 personal fouls called against New York, compared to just 16 against Miami.
"He did something dirty and he knows he did," O'Neal said. "He's just out there flopping and the refs fell for it."
Marbury finished with just seven points on 2-of-11 shooting as the Knicks lost for the 17th time in their last 19 contests.