As long as you keep your expectations realistic, today was a successful date for the New York Knicks. They may have only delayed the inevitable by beating the Miami Heat 89-87, but they got a proverbial monkey off their collective back. Actually, it is more of a silverback gorilla than a simple monkey. They ended their NBA record 13 game playoff losing streak with today’s victory. New York has not won a playoff game since April 29, 2001. Take a moment to let that soak in.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 41 big points, including a huge 3-pointer to break a tie with just 54.5 seconds left in regulation. Melo was one point shy of his personal playoff best, but you could argue that today was the best playoff performance of his career. With so much turmoil surrounding the game and the two teams involved, Anthony rose to the occasion and connected on 15 of his 29 field goal attempts and ensured his team would live to fight another day.
Amar’e Stoudemire returned from his infamous fire extinguisher injury to give New York a huge lift. He scored 20 points and grabbed 10 boards while playing with protective padding over his hand. He returned just in time to watch as another teammate was lost to injury. Baron Davis (Davis injured? That’s unheard of, right?) left the court on a stretcher in the third quarter after dislocating his right knee.
The Miami Heat seemed well on their way to completing their sweep of these Knicks for much of the game on Sunday. Lebron James was his usual MVP-caliber self, scoring 27 points to lead his heavily favored team. Dwayne Wade added 22 points, but I can guarantee he is thinking of nothing else besides the 3-point jump shot he missed with 1.6 seconds left that would have won the game for the visiting Heat, thus completing their four game sweep. Had that shot gone in, not only would it have given the Heat the series win, but it would have also netted them a nice, long break before they begin their second series. Instead, they will have to try and close out this series yet again on wednesday.