Knicks wilt as James turns on the Heat
NEW YORK — Lebron James scored 32 points, including eight straight to start the fourth quarter and break open the game, and the Miami Heat took a 3-0 lead, sending the New York Knicks to an NBA postseason-record 13th straight loss, 87-70 on Thursday night.
James had 17 points in the final period for the Heat, who held the short-handed Knicks to eight field goals in the second half and will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon.
“I just wanted to make plays and help our team win,” James said.
Dwyane Wade added 20 points for the Heat and Mario Chalmers had 19, hitting consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points but shot 7 of 23 for the Knicks, who are playing without Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert.
In a sloppy game, Miami went 10 minutes without a field goal in the second half, followed by the Knicks managing just three baskets in the third quarter. Then James took over. He came off the bench to start the fourth after sitting most of the third in foul trouble, quickly providing the best offensive stretch in the game.
He nailed a 3-pointer, followed his own miss, then hit again from behind the arc, turning the Heat’s two-point lead into a 66-56 cushion with 10:36 remaining. Wade then made a jumper before Chalmers hit two in a row from behind the arc to make it 77-62 with 5:40 to play.
“It was a good team win,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “Coaches like those kind of wins, when you are not necessarily playing well, and certain parts of the game were ugly.”
DALLAS — Kevin Durant finally found his postseason shooting touch to get Oklahoma City off to a quick start, and the Thunder never trailed on the way to a 95-79 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night for a 3-0 series lead.
Durant finished with 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting. Russell Westbrook added 20 points for the Thunder, while Ibaka had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Dirk Nowitzki had 17 points to lead Dallas, and Jason Kidd had 12.
The Mavericks now face being the first defending champion knocked out in the first round of the playoffs since Miami in 2006. No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.