1:00 PM ET, April 6, 2014
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
After facing mainly lottery-bound opponents in the past five games, the potentially short-handed Miami Heat now try to maintain their slim lead in the Eastern Conference by taking on a string of teams that are either headed to the playoffs or contending for berths.
Miami (52-23) has played without Wade (hamstring) and Oden (back spasms) for the last five games but has managed to pull percentage points ahead of Indiana. The Heat have won four of five in that stretch, which featured four opponents that are currently eliminated from playoff contention.
Miami couldn't get past one of those teams Friday despite getting Ray Allen back from a five-game absence due to the flu. The Heat fell 122-121 in double overtime to Minnesota but caught a break when Indiana lost 102-94 in Toronto that same night.
"We just move on to the next one," forward Chris Bosh said. "We've got a big game Sunday. It looks like this thing is going to go down to the wire so we might as well have fun with it."
The Heat have two games in hand on the Pacers, who host Atlanta on Sunday night. Indiana will face two eliminated teams in its final five games while the Heat will take on six straight opponents that are no worse than ninth in their respective conferences.
New York (33-44) is in ninth, one game behind Atlanta. The Knicks were percentage points ahead of the Hawks on Wednesday after winning their third in a row but fell 90-89 to Washington on Friday.
Atlanta, which currently holds the tiebreaker because of its better conference record, beat Cleveland that same night.
Anthony re-aggravated a right shoulder injury that he said he suffered in a 110-81 rout of Brooklyn on Wednesday. The Knicks star committed a season-high nine turnovers Friday and was held to 10 points, his lowest total of 2013-14, but said afterward that "there was no way I was coming out."
J.R. Smith scored a season-high 32 but missed a potential winning 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds to go.
"For sure, I'll be there Sunday," Anthony said. "... We've been up against the wall this whole time. ... We've got some pretty good wins on the road. We want to keep it up. We've got five games left to try to make this happen."
Anthony, averaging 27.7 points on the season, has averaged 34.0 in his last seven regular-season games against the Heat and had 29 in the most recent matchup Feb. 27 in Miami.
The Heat, though, got 31 points from LeBron James and 23 from Wade in a 108-82 rout. Miami has won two of the three matchups this season with James averaging 31.0 points and shooting 65.5 percent.
Wade has missed 24 games in 2013-14, but has played in all three against New York and averaged 22.7 points and 72.1 percent from the field, his best shooting percentage against any opponent.
"We'll just have to see how he feels (Saturday)," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He's been stepping up his workouts every day."
Bosh has shot 29.6 percent and averaged 5.3 points in the season series, easily his worst scoring mark against any opponent.
Last 5 Games
Team Stat Leaders
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
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.[+]
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
ESPN Stats & Information