For the first 24 minutes of action it appeared as if the New York Knicks; despite having a roster that has been depleted by injuries; had a chance to defeat the Miami Heat on Thursday night and get their first win in the third game of the best of seven series. Those thoughts quickly disappeared early in the second half, as Miami outscored their hosts by a 55-30 margin to win the contest 87-70, as well as taking an imposing 3-0 lead in the match-up. Miami All-Star forward LeBron James, would become a one-man wrecking crew in the fourth scoring 17 of his team’s 29 points in the period.
New York only had nine players who suited up to play; after Amar’e Stoudemire suffered major damage to his left hand immediately following his team’s loss in game two, by punching the glass front of a storage case for a fire extinguisher. The Knicks big man had to have surgery Tuesday as he sliced a small muscle in his hand, which might keep him out for the rest of his club’s season.
The home team used Steve Novak to replace Stoudemire in the starting lineup; however the forward who has been an asset to his squad all season as he had provided outside scoring coming off the bench could not get it done for the Knicks on Thursday as he took only two shots in the contest and missed them both. Carmelo Anthony knocked down 22 points for New York, but would not have enough offensive support to get the win.
Neither team looked particularly impressive offensively in the opening period and the score would be tied at 19-19 at the conclusion of the quarter. New York seemed to be on the verge of breaking this game open with 1:44 left in the second as Baron Davis drove the lane putting the ball in the cylinder; was fouled on the play and hit his shot at the line, putting his team on top 40-29. Miami would get busy though down the stretch and they had cut their deficit to 40-36 as the game reached the half.
The first 6:25 of the third period, resembled a game in the pre-shot clock era; as both teams had trouble putting the ball in the basket with the Knicks on top 44-43. The Heat started to pull way; however their opponents would be back on their heels at the end of the quarter with Miami ahead 58-56. The Heat opened the fourth quarter on a 19-6 run, putting them on top 77-62 and the Knicks never recovered, as the visitors won the game with ease.
James had a game high 32 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in the victory. Dwyane Wade scored 20 points, 5 steals, 4 assists and 4 rebounds while Mario Chalmers added 19 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
Anthony put up 22 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal. J.R. Smith came off the bench and scored 12 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals while Tyson Chandler notched a double-double with 10 points, 15 boards, 2 blocks and 2 steals. Miami will try to get the sweep when the two teams take the hardwood in game four on Sunday.