It was probably an ominous sign when LeBron James slammed home an alley-oop on the first offensive play of the game for the Heat.
The Knicks answered an incredibly intense Miami crowd, but couldn’t pull out a win in their final game before the All-Star break.
The Heat won, 102-88, with Chris Bosh leading the way with 25?points on 11-of-17 shooting. Dwyane Wade added 22, while James nearly had a triple-double with 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Thursday’s game was the first true road test for the Knicks (17-18) with Jeremy Lin in the starting lineup. Seven of his 10 starts have come at home, with Minnesota, woeful Washington and Toronto the road games.
Lin failed the test, but so did the team as a whole. Forward Carmelo Anthony led the team with 19 points on 7-of-20 shooting. Miami is now 27-7 on the season.
What went wrong …
1. Heat check
It’s no secret that Miami crowds are notoriously dead. That is, when they bother to show up. Thursday’s atmosphere was different. Right from the opening tip the crowd was raucous. Miami ran out to a 10-4 lead and Mike D’Antoni needed to call a timeout to slow things down.
2. Third watch
The Knicks fought hard all first half to keep themselves in the game. Trailing by just four, the third quarter can be a huge barometer in the outcome. The Heat started the quarter on a 14-6 run, and while they didn’t run away with it, New York never got closer than that four-point halftime deficit again.
3. Lin wilts
Even in the Knicks’ two losses since Jeremy Lin joined the starting lineup he played well. Not so against Miami. He was bad from the start and never got better. He finished with eight points on a disastrous 1-of-11 shooting. And maybe even worse he had eight turnovers. He only had three assists, the lowest total during this streak. It’s only one game, but it was ugly.
Follow New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.