LeBron James had 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and the Miami Heat avoided a winless season in the Big Apple with a 106-91 victory Saturday night that snapped the Knicks’ four-game winning streak.
Dwyane Wade added 22 points for the Heat, who avoided becoming the first team to go 0-4 in New York this season after losing their previous trip to Madison Square Garden earlier this month and both games in Brooklyn.
Bouncing back from a home loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday, the Heat built a series of comfortable leads, let the Knicks cut into a few of them, and then pulled away for good in the fourth.
Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who had been 4-1 against the Heat over the last two seasons but were overmatched in this one. They finished 4-4 on their eight-game homestand, which matched the longest in franchise history.
Unable to stop leading scorer Kevin Durant on Wednesday, the Heat made things tough all night for No. 2 scorer Anthony, whose most memorable play was an open-court tackle of James that would’ve looked good in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Even with that event in town, James was one of the biggest stars in the city and Saturday’s game drew a crowd filled with stars from sports, such as David Beckham and Evander Holyfield, and entertainment, with Grammy Award winner Macklemore and actors Hugh Jackman and Ricky Gervais among the 19,812 fans.
James showed them his all-around game, finishing off the decisive 12-2 run with a pair of baskets as Miami turned an 84-79 lead into a 96-81 cushion.
The Knicks were trying to match their longest winning streak, having defeated Charlotte, the Lakers, Boston and Cleveland over the previous eight nights. None, obviously, is anywhere near Miami’s class, and the Knicks simply made too many of the types of mistakes that teams can’t afford against the NBA champions.
The Heat were only 5-5 over their previous 10 games, but showed how dangerous they remain when their defense is right and James and Wade are able to get into transition.
Wade shot 10 for 15 against a Knicks team that played its second straight game without Iman Shumpert, who has a sprained right shoulder and would’ve been the Knicks’ best hope in defending the Heat’s All-Star guard.
Shane Battier scored a season-high 16 points as Miami shot 54 percent.
Miami closed the first quarter with a 10-2 run and led 29-22 behind 11 points from Battier. The Heat seemed firmly in control in the second, opening a 46-32 lead on James’ follow shot with 5:44 to play. They still led by double digits with under a minute to play after Anthony had an 0-for-3 trip to the line with 1:37 remaining, but baskets by Kenyon Martin and Tyson Chandler cut it to 53-46 at the break.
Notes: Amar’e Stoudemire returned for the Knicks after missing seven games with a sprained left ankle.