They pretty much ruined the mood beforehand, adding to a season
of Heat misery.
Jamal Crawford scored 22 points and Nate Robinson added 19,
including a banked jumper with 2:20 left that put New York ahead to
stay, and the Knicks beat Miami 88-84 -- sending the Heat to their
13th straight loss, the longest in the league and the worst skein
of coach Pat Riley's career.
"It wasn't pretty," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "But we
were able to grind, able to hang."
Able to win, too, for the fourth time in five nights -- while
Miami continued to plunge.
Only the expansion Heat -- who lost their first 17 games of the
1988-89 season -- have dropped more in a row than this team, which
has simply free-fallen since winning an NBA championship a mere 19
"Maybe we should hang some more pictures of that trophy
somewhere, so we can remember what it felt like to be in that
moment," Riley said. "We have to change the energy, somehow."
For the second straight night, a fourth-quarter collapse doomed
Miami at home.
Miami led by 10 late in the third quarter and took a four-point
lead into the fourth, but lost yet again to match the
second-longest skid in team history.
The Heat were outscored 16-8 over the final 6:44, missing nine
of their final 12 shots.
Wade led Miami with 22 points, on 7-for-23 shooting, and nine
assists. Udonis Haslem scored 11 points and Mark Blount and
Shaquille O'Neal each scored 10 for the Heat, who failed to get a
key defensive rebound on a miss by Crawford with 24 seconds left --
and paid the price.
David Lee grabbed that rebound, even though Wade and Haslem both
were in good position, and Crawford made a couple free throws later
in the possession to help seal the win.
"Just our luck, man," Wade said. "The ball bounced. That's
been our season, been our luck."
Miami had a chance to force overtime, but Wade missed a
3-pointer with 7 seconds left. The rebound bounced off Lee and went
out of bounds, giving the Heat one more chance that resulted in
Daequan Cook's missed 3 from the right wing.
Zach Randolph had 16 points and 14 rebounds and Lee finished
with 15 points and eight rebounds for New York, which rebounded
from a 111-98 loss in Washington on Friday.
"That just goes to show the resiliency of our team," Lee said.
"We've been able to battle back."
Miami used a 10-0 run to take an early eight-point lead, as the
Knicks opened 1-for-8 from the floor.
It was Miami's best opening quarter in weeks. Cook's 3-pointer
with 4.3 seconds left gave the Heat a 30-21 lead -- Miami's biggest
after one period since a 40-29 edge in Phoenix on Dec. 10.
But nothing comes easily for the Heat these days.
The Knicks got within 35-33 on a short hook by Eddy Curry midway
through the second. Miami eventually rebuilt the lead to 10 later
in the period, but Crawford scored New York's final five points,
closing the gap to 48-43 at halftime.
Miami went up by 10 again in the third, and again didn't find
prosperity to its liking.
An 8-0 run got the Knicks within 67-65 after back-to-back
baskets by Robinson, and early in the fourth, consecutive baskets
by Lee put the visitors ahead 72-71 with 9:48 to play -- their first
lead since 2-0.
And in the end, New York had enough.
"To play four in five nights is tough for any team," Crawford
said. "The good teams take that step of winning four in five
nights. We're not necessarily there yet, but we're building to get
Highlight of the night: The allegedly 5-foot-9 Robinson, a
former slam dunk champion, corralling a miss by Crawford with his
right hand and stuffing it for a second-quarter score, all in one
motion. ... Lightly used Alexander Johnson, who entered averaging
2.4 points, was the first sub off Miami's bench. ... The Knicks'
next game is Monday afternoon at home against Boston, which eked
out a 104-59 win in the teams' first meeting this season. ...
O'Neal -- the NBA's leader in fouls per game -- was slowed by foul
trouble yet again. He sat out the final 9:40 of the half after
getting two fouls in the first 2:20 of the second quarter.