The Miami Heat moved into the second round of the NBA playoffs with a 106-94 win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday that completed a 4-1 series victory.
LeBron James had 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade both scored 19 points for the Heat, who progressed to a -second-round series against the Indiana Pacers, starting in Miami on Sunday.
“We will savor this win tonight, and then we get to work tomorrow and get ready for Indiana,” James said.
Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points for the Knicks, but it was not enough, and the man chosen two spots behind James and immediately ahead of Bosh and Wade in the 2003 NBA draft has now won just two of 11 post--season series.
New York’s Amar’e Stoudemire scored 14 points before fouling out, Landry Fields and J.R. Smith both scored 12, while Tyson Chandler grabbed 11 rebounds.
The Knicks cut the margin to 11 points four times in a two-minute span, but Miami answered every time, the last of those a three-pointer by Shane Battier with 54 seconds left.
That sent the white seat covers flying in all corners of the arena, the fans knowing it was finally over.
The first game day salvo came eight hours before tipoff, when Wade sent a verbal jab toward former teammate Mike Bibby.
“I know Mike has made more shots in this series than he made all last year. I know that. Send that to Mike,” Wade said.
Bibby averaged 0.5 points in first-quarter appearances this season, but he scored eight in the opening minutes on Wednesday as the visitors jumped out to a 14-8 lead.
It was one of New York’s few moments to enjoy.
James had 13 points on only six field-goal attempts by halftime, Wade shook off a scoreless first quarter with 12 in the second and Miami went into the break leading 55-44.
The margin was fewer than 10 points for only 90 seconds of the third quarter.
Stoudemire went to the bench with his fifth foul with 6 minutes, 41 seconds left in the third and Miami went on an 11-2 spurt not long after that, sealing the outcome.
GRIZZLIES 92, CLIPPERS 80
In Memphis, Tennessee, the hosts avoided elimination by beating Los Angeles and cutting the series deficit to 3-2.
Marc Gasol scored 23 points and Zach Randolph added 19 for the Grizzlies, who looked more like the team that knocked off top-seeded San Antonio last season and took Oklahoma City to seven games in the conference semi-finals.
Game 6 is today in Los Angeles. If the Grizzlies can win, Game 7 would be on Sunday in Memphis.
Rudy Gay added 14 points for Memphis.
Mo Williams had 20 points for the Clippers, while Chris Paul scored 19 and Blake Griffin had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Paul and Griffin both missed time in the fourth quarter with injuries — Paul strained a groin muscle and appeared to jam a finger, while Griffin hyperextended his left knee.
Paul, the four-time All-Star guard, had just five points by halftime and scored nothing in the fourth quarter.
An injured groin kept him out of the Clippers’ regular-season finale, a loss to New York that cost Los Angeles the No. 4 seeding.
The Clippers are chasing their first series victory since 2006 and a second-round series against top-seeded San Antonio, but even though Paul has plenty of post-season experience, this was the first close-out game for the likes of Griffin, Randy Foye and DeAndre Jordan.