The Miami Heat have temporarily brought order to the chaos that has been Linsanity since New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin scored 25 points against the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4.
Lin, who uncharacteristically shot just one for 11 from the field, also characteristically turned the ball over a team-high eight times as the Heat were able to come away 102-88 victors in Miami, their eighth straight win heading into the break for All-Star Weekend in Orlando.
Heat point guards Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole took some pressure off of James in guarding Lin, clamping down on the ever-popular Harvard grad and rendering any high pick-and-roll play useless. Center Joel Anthony also stepped up defensively, blocking five shots despite not scoring a single point in 24 minutes of playing time.
Heat forward Chris Bosh scored 25 points, guard Dwayne Wade added 22 and forward LeBron James finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. All three will go into the All-Star break representing a Miami team now with the NBA's best record (27-7).
It's one game, said Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni after the game. And we're not there yet. They're there. They're the team right now to beat for everybody. They're playing better than everybody. And we're trying to get our team together.
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The Knicks, who have yet to really get maximum chemistry going thanks to a few injuries and the recent acquisition of J.R. Smith, had 19 turnovers, allowing the Heat to capitalize in transition. They put forth a better defensive effort in the first half than the second as they were only down by four at the half, but Miami surged in the third quarter, outscoring the New York 29-19.
Forward Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 19 points, while Smith scored 14 off the bench. Steve Novak continued to shoot the three-pointer well, scoring 12 points on four of five from behind the arc.
Spike Lee, Floyd Mayweather and Chad Ochocinco all sat within seven seats of each other on one sideline, Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison of the Miami Marlins were on another sideline, and members of the New York Mets' front office reportedly jumped aboard a helicopter for the quick trip from the team's spring-training home in Port St. Lucie down to Miami, according to ESPN.com.
President Barack Obama was rumored to be making an appearance at the playoff-like game, but didn't show up. Instead, Air Force One was at an Orlando fundraiser Thursday night.
In another life, I would be staying for the Knicks-Heat game tonight, then going up to Orlando for NBA All-Star weekend, Obama told cheering students at the University of Miami earlier in the day. But these days, I've got a few other things on my plate. Just a few.