Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 1/5

Game 1: Wednesday, January 5th
Knicks94Final
Heat102
Game 2: Wednesday, February 9th
Heat116Final
OT
Knicks110
Game 3: Tuesday, March 15th
Heat98Final
Knicks96
Game 4: Saturday, March 19th
Knicks82Final
Heat97

Knicks 94

(16-16, 6-10 away)

Heat 102

(26-8, 14-4 home)

Coverage: MSG

7:30 PM ET, January 5, 2005

AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

1 2 3 4 T
NY 19 20 23 3294
MIA 24 26 24 28102

Top Performers

New York: S. Marbury 28 Pts, 2 Reb, 8 Ast, 4 Stl

Miami: S. O'Neal 33 Pts, 18 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

New York held to two field goals in 7 minutes

MIAMI (AP) -- To formulate his game plan, Miami coach Stan Van Gundy watched hours of tape, studied the New York Knicks' tendencies and reviewed scouting reports.

And after all that, he went with the simplest possible approach -- pounding the ball to Shaquille O'Neal.

O'Neal turned in one of his most complete performances of the year, a 33-point, 18-rebound effort that helped the Heat defeat New York 102-94 on Wednesday night, extending the Knicks' slide to three games.

"I was kidding with him before the game. I said, 'We need a great one tonight, like 30 and 15,'" Van Gundy said. "That's coaching, guys. That's coaching, right there."

O'Neal made 14-of-21 shots from the floor for the Heat (26-8), who showed no ill effects from Monday's home loss to Seattle that snapped a franchise-record 14-game winning streak.

"They weren't really doubling that much and I always tried to take the high-percentage shot. A couple of them fell," O'Neal said. "We felt pretty good tonight. We wanted to come back and get a big win after a tough loss the other night."

Dwyane Wade scored 21 points, his 11th straight game of 20 or more, and added a game-high nine assists for the Heat, who held a 44-32 rebounding margin and limited the Knicks to two field goals in a seven-minute stretch of the first half.

Stephon Marbury had 28 points and eight assists, while Kurt Thomas matched a season high with 23 points (on 11-for-15 shooting) and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who dropped to 16-16 -- still good enough for first place in the Atlantic Division.

The game continued the Knicks' recent trend of playing from behind. In their last three games -- losses to New Jersey, Sacramento and now Miami -- New York has led for 9 minutes, 53 seconds out of a possible 144 minutes.

"This is a tough stretch for us," Marbury said. "We played three talented teams. We've just got to keep moving forward. We can't let these games be a big setback. We've been there before and responded."

New York's largest lead was just four points, and that came in the opening minutes. By the third quarter, the Knicks trailed by 16 -- then chipped away and got within 79-71 on Vin Baker's jumper with 9:12 remaining.

But O'Neal blocked Trevor Ariza's layup on the Knicks' next trip and then ran the floor, took a pass from Wade and converted a three-point play with 8:31 left to push the lead back to 11.

The Knicks never got closer than nine again until Marbury's layup with 13.3 seconds left.

"Miami moved the ball around great," said Knicks coach Lenny Wilkens. "If we double-teamed them, they made back cuts and hit some big shots. ... Give them credit, they played very well."

O'Neal's mere presence, as usual, affected the outcome. He got Knicks center Nazr Mohammed in early foul trouble, and Mohammed was never a real factor, finishing with 11 points and six rebounds -- well off the 19.7-point, 11-rebound averages from his last three games.

"He's the best man in the NBA because no one demands as much attention as he does," Marbury said of O'Neal. "I love Tim Duncan and all the other big guys, but whenever you're the most dominant player in the game, you're by far the best player in the game."

Shandon Anderson, who fell out of favor with Isiah Thomas in New York and was waived in November, had 12 points in 22 minutes for the Heat -- matching his total offensive output from his last 11 games combined. But afterward, he wouldn't say that beating the Knicks made his night any more enjoyable.

"Honestly, it didn't," Anderson said. "It just felt like a game. We've practiced against each other so much, that's what it seemed like. Just a practice."

Allan Houston, who scored a season-high 21 in the Knicks' loss to Sacramento on Tuesday night, finished with 10. Udonis Haslem had 10 for Miami.

Game notes


Wade has scored at least 20 points in his last 11 games -- 13 when excluding a Dec. 13 game against Washington that he left early because of injury. ... Baker played for the first time since Dec. 22. ... Miami opens an eight-day, five-game road trip -- the season's longest -- in Portland on Friday; its next home game is Jan. 19 against Atlanta. ... Knicks guard Penny Hardaway returned to the injured list Wednesday. He's missed half of New York's 32 games. ... Juan Pierre of the Florida Marlins was courtside, as were hip-hop mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and singer Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NY
MIA
Points 94 102
FGM-FGA 38-75 (.507) 42-86 (.488)
3PM-3PA 3-8 (.375) 2-13 (.154)
FTM-FTA 15-22 (.682) 16-23 (.696)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-32 15-44
Assists 15 25
Turnovers 15 12
Steals 9 10
Blocks 5 5
Fast Break Points 2 16
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 18 (0/0)
Largest Lead 4 17

Top Performers

New York
Miami
Stephon Marbury Marbury
Points: 28
Reb: 2
Ast: 8
Stl: 4
Blk: 0
Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 33
Reb: 18
Ast: 2
Stl: 1
Blk: 3