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Knicks upend LeBron, Heat

The Knicks finally got their legs back under them and at the most opportune time, as they shockingly knocked off the Miami Heat, 93-88, in front of a frothing Garden crowd on Thursday night.    

The Knicks finally got their legs back under them and at the most opportune time, as they shockingly knocked off the Miami Heat, 93-88, in front of a frothing Garden crowd on Thursday night.

Led by All-Star starter Amare Stoudemire and Landry Fields, New York [24-21] staved off a late Heat rally to earn its first win in three attempts against Miami [31-14]. Stoudemire finished with a team-high 24 points and eight rebounds, while Fields added 19 points and 13 rebounds. The Heat only shot 41 percent from the field, including 43 percent in the first half and committed 12 of their 17 turnovers in the opening half. Dwyane Wade picked up the slack due to an injured Chris Bosh and a horrid shooting night by LeBron James by scoring a game-high 34 points and adding a game-high 16 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough because the Knicks bottled up the supporting cast. James finished with 24 points, including 3-of-13 shooting in the first half, but was off all night, finishing with a 7-of-24 night. James did add 11 rebounds and a team-high five assists.

Danilo Gallinari was quiet for most of the night until the Knicks needed him most, during a fourth-quarter stretch that saw him knock down a big three pointer at the 5:20 mark to give New York a 77-76 lead. Gallo, who finished with 20 points, later knocked down the biggest shot of the night when he launched a contested three-point dagger with 1:18 remaining, giving the Knicks an 86-84 lead. It was a lead the Knicks would never relinquish. Gallo’s 3s preceded a Fields' long-range bomb that was essentially the dagger when the rookie sensation took a sweet no-look pass from Stoudemire and coolly nailed a trey with :49.2 remaining. The shot gave New York an 89-84 and turned out the lights on the Heat.

WHAT WE SAW:

1. In a rare occurrence, the Knicks’ defensive effort was apparent throughout the night. Naturally, Miami’s real ‘Big Two’ had their moments but it was what the Knicks did to the supporting cast that was impressive. James was held to 3-of-13 from the field in the first half and struggled with the aggressive Knicks defense. For the game, the Knicks held the Heat to 41 percent shooting from the floor, including a paltry 43 percent and forcing 12 of their 17 turnovers in the first half. Take away LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s 58 combined points and Miami only scored 30 points.

2. Landry Fields continued to impress as he netted 19 points, including 11 in the first half. Fields also knocked down a clutch three pointer with :49.2 remaining to essentially ice the game. If not for the stellar play of Los Angeles Clippers rookie Blake Griffin, Fields would be a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year honors, as his energy, skills, and basketball IQ are already on-par with a league veteran. Fields also added a team-high 13 rebounds and played about as good a defense on Wade, who is amongst the league’s savviest scorers.

3. Amar’e Stoudemire followed up his All-Star starting nod with a solid performance, as he totaled a team-high 24 points and eight rebounds. Stoudemire, who surpassed Boston Celtic forward Kevin Garnett for the starting spot in the Eastern Conference, had nine points in the first quarter to give the Knicks an early lead. Stoudemire also added a block and four assist, including a nifty no-look pass to Fields who nailed the knock-out 3.

4. The Knicks not being able to stop Wade was one thing we saw, as he went for a game-high 34 points. By the end of the third quarter, Wade had 31 points and was shooting 14-of-15. New York threw waves at the perennial all-star but no one could slow him down. Wade also tallied a game-high 16 rebounds.

5. New York got nothing of substance yet again from its bench, as its best performer was Shawne Williams, who had 11 points in 27 minutes. Williams made more of an impact on the defensive end, as he was one of several Knicks to harass James into a putrid shooting night, but when your top reserve has 11 of the bench’s 17 points, that’s not contender-worthy support.

 
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