The sizzling hot Miami Heat and their “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh scorched the New York Knicks 113-91 for their 11th win in a row on Friday at Madison Square Garden.
James, who spurned New York in signing as a free agent last summer with Miami, shrugged off hearty boos from a packed Garden crowd on his every touch of the ball to score 32 points, while Wade and Bosh both poured in 26 points.
Miami improved to 20-8 as James completed a triple-double by adding 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while New York dropped to 16-11, scoring just 34 points in the second half.
“When we play defense, we’re a really dangerous team,” James told reporters. “Holding a very good offensive team down to 39 percent shooting was a great performance.”
James put on a dazzling show at the Broadway arena, firing away from the perimeter, spinning to the hoop, slamming down dunks and making an array of no-look passes for assists against the hosts, who were outplayed after the intermission.
Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni tipped his cap to the Heat and said his team may have had “an emotional letdown” after ending their eight-game winning streak on Wednesday with a two-point loss to the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics, who also came to the Garden after winning 10 straight.
While that game came down to the last 10th of a second and was taken by New York as a declaration they could compete with the top teams, the Knicks ran out of gas after battling back from a 13-point deficit to head to intermission tied at 57-57.
Miami outscored the Knicks 33-17 in the third quarter to pull away and continue their recent run of dominance. All but one of their wins during the 11-game streak have been by double-digit margins.
New York’s Amare Stoudemire, who had scored 30 or more points in each of the last nine games, had his team-record streak snapped as he posted 24 points, while the Knicks were led by Danilo Gallinari with 25 points.
“It has been a long week,” Stoudemire said.
Wade said the Heat were determined to step up their defensive effort in the second half.
“We were giving up too many easy points,” Wade said. “So we packed the paint and made them take tough shots.”
James and Wade are used to being treated as visiting villains, but the loud chants of “overrated, overrated” that serenaded Chris Bosh at the foul line only served to spur him on.
“I loved it,” Bosh said. “It was a nice try. There was some added motivation to me. It gave me added incentive to be successful.”
HORNETS 100, JAZZ 71
In New Orleans, David West scored 23 points to lead the New Orleans Hornets in a rout of the Utah Jazz.
Chris Paul had 11 points and 10 assists for the Hornets, who finished with a season-high 53 rebounds — more than twice as many as their opponents.
The Jazz were averaging 101.4 points per game, but shot just 35.8 percent and finished with a season-low in points.
Paul Millsap led Utah with a meager 14 points.
LAKERS 93, 76ERS 81
In Philadelphia, Lamar Odom scored 28 points to lead Los Angeles over Philadelphia.
Pau Gasol had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers, who rallied and broke the game open in the fourth quarter to win their fourth straight game. The Lakers trailed by four before turning the game around with a 27-8 run.
Spencer Hawes had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Sixers.