Wade’s 30 Lead Heat Past Knicks
Miami 111, New York 100
NEW YORK, March 19 (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade made Shaquille O'Neal's foul trouble no trouble at all.
Wade scored 16 of his 30 points in the third quarter and added nine assists as the Miami Heat outclassed the New York Knicks, 111-100, for their 15th win in 16 games.
A two-time All-Star, Wade was coming off an awful performance Saturday in his hometown of Chicago, where he committed 10 turnovers and scored just 15 points. He bounced back nicely, making 10-of-17 shots and 10-of-13 free throws.
"You try to bounce back and that's all I tried to do every time I had a bad game," Wade said. "I was just putting the effort forward for my teammates to make plays and make plays for myself. So I did a decent job of bouncing back."
Wade also added nine assists and collected five rebounds to help the Heat to their seventh straight win over the Knicks.
"He's very methodical," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "He took in the film today and saw what teams (do). He knows what they do. He's so good that he can get through defenses and creases and cracks. He slowed it down a little tonight. He really took a look at the defense."
"I always do it (watch film)," Wade said. "Even when I have good games, I always try to watch and see the things I did good and the things I did bad and try to learn from a way a team is playing me and different things like that."
Wade scored 12 points in the first half to help Miami grab a 49-46 lead. O'Neal also scored 12 points but was limited to 13 minutes as he picked up three fouls.
When O'Neal took a seat with his fourth foul in the first minute of the third quarter, Wade took over. The high-flying guard made all five of his shots to help the Heat widen their lead to 78-69 entering the final period.
Wade had a pair of acrobatic buckets, stopping short and flipping in a hook while drawing a foul and soaring above Jamal Crawford to haul in an alley-oop pass from Williams and hammer it home.
It was Wade's 30th game with 30 points this season. Eight of those games have come during Miami's surge, which began when he scored Miami's last 17 points of a 100-98 win over Detroit on February 12.
Also offsetting O'Neal's absence was backup center Alonzo Mourning, who did most of his work at the defensive end. Mourning had five of his eight blocks in the third period and appeared to challenge every interior shot by the Knicks, who had nine shots blocked by him in Miami on November 28.
"I come in and do my job," Mourning said. "When my number's called, I just try to come in and play the game as hard as I can in hopes my effort, my contribution contributes to us winning the ballgame."
"Having him back there as a force willed us to victory on the defensive end," Wade said. "We're lucky to have him, especially with Shaq being in foul trouble. We're lucky to have the best backup center in the league."
Riley did a little campaigning for Mourning, who spelled O'Neal for a month earlier this season.
"When you're casting your ballots for Defensive Player of the Year or All-Defensive Team, there's no doubt," Riley said. "I think people forget about what he's done. He's second in the league in blocks and he only plays 16 or 18 minutes per game. He's really a factor for us. I thought he was the difference tonight."
The Heat led by at least seven points in the fourth quarter, when Williams and Antoine Walker each made a pair of 3-pointers. Miami shot 9-of-21 from the arc.
O'Neal scored 18 points in 25 minutes, making 9-of-13 shots but missing all six free throws. Udonis Haslem added 11 points for Miami (45-21), which clinched a playoff spot earlier Sunday when Chicago lost at Washington.
"Shaq threw his body around on defense and on the next couple of plays, we're missing layups because of his presence down there," Knicks center Eddy Curry said. "What Zo (Mourning) does is he's pretty much blocking shots and being effective on the defensive end."
The Heat clinched their third straight playoff spot and second straight in New York. Last season, they clinched with a 98-96 victory that saw Wade hit the game-winner at the buzzer.
"When you clinch a playoff spot, it means you're having a good year," Wade said. "We still have a lot of games left, but we're happy about that."
Curry scored 18 points and Crawford added 16 off the bench for the Knicks, who shot 49 percent (41-of-84) and had six players in double figures. However, they had no answer for Wade and had their two-game winning streak snapped.
"When (Stephon Marbury) was on Wade, he did about as good a job as you could on him," New York coach Larry Brown said. "We had a hard time handling pick-and-rolls."
The tandem of Marbury and Steve Francis started at guard but managed just 21 points on 9-of-23 shooting. New York is 4-8 since acquiring Francis.
"They know how to play and they play with a great deal of confidence," Marbury said. "Whenever you onto the basketball court with that kind of confidence, you never feel like you're going to lose."