In the final stretch of the NBA regular season, both the New York Knicks and Miami Heat are still mired in important battles that could very well decide the final positioning—and make-up— in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
The Knicks (33-34) are chasing the Atlanta Hawks (33-42), half a game ahead for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Atlanta faces Indiana also on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Heat (52-23) are tied with those same Pacers (53-24) atop the conference.
Miami had their four-game winning streak snapped by the Minnesota Timberwolves last Friday. The Heat lost in a double-overtime thriller, 122-121.
LeBron James had 34 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals and Chris Bosh had 24 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocked shots but it wasn’t enough to beat the Timberwolves, which shot 46.2 per cent from the field (43/93 FG) and 37.4 per cent from behind the arc (12/32 3FG).
The Heat played without Dwyane Wade but had major contributions from Mario Chalmers (24 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists) and Udonis Haslem (10 points and 8 rebounds).
New York is coming off a disappointing 90-89 loss at home versus the Washington Wizards. The Knicks had the 1-point lead inside the final 33 seconds but lost to a Bradley Beal clutch midrange shot for what was the game-winner.
J.R. Smith, who finished with a game-high 32 points, missed a three pointer near the buzzer. Carmelo Anthony struggled against Wiz ending up with only 10 points plus 9 turnovers in 28 minutes. He missed 9 of 14 attempts although he also added 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.
Miami leads the season series against New York, 2-1. The Knicks beat the Heat, 102-92 on January 9 but the defending NBA champions took the last two—a 106-91 win on February 1 and 108-82 victory on February 27.
Watch the Heat-Knicks match-up via NBA League Pass.