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Heat advance, end Knicks' season 106-94

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The chaos has come to an end for the New York Knicks.

The championship pursuit continues for the Miami Heat.

A season that saw the rise and fall of Lin-sanity and the firing of coach Mike D'Antoni ended Wednesday night for the Knicks with a 106-94 loss to the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.

"We played a great team, a well-coached team and I thought we played well in spurts," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said, "and our guys got a short taste of what playoff basketball is about."

For the Heat, who closed out the best-of-seven opening-round NBA playoff series in five games, it's now on to the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Indiana Pacers that opens Sunday on the Heat's homecourt.

"Even though it was a five-game series, it was a very tough series to win," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "I thought it helped us to be able to go against a team like this."

In what ultimately turned into a series of attrition for the Knicks, who closed with guards Iman Shumpert, Baron Davis and Jeremy Lin all sidelined, and with forward Amare Stoudemire nursing an injured left hand, there simply was little more than the 35 points from forward Carmelo Anthony.

"They're definitely more polished than us right now, executing, setting picks, hard cuts, getting out in transition, with defensive assignments," Knicks center Tyson Chandler said. "All the little things in this series are the reason we lost."

For the Heat, there was the across-the-board Big Three scoring of 29 points from LeBron James, 19 from Wade and 19 from Chris Bosh.

"He reads the game as good as anybody that I've been around," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of James.

The Knicks remain without a playoff-series win since 2000, when they pushed past the Heat in the second round.

"Eventually we'll be better, we'll be much better as a unit," Anthony said. "We'll learn from this and we'll come back next year and be ready."

The Heat led by 11 at halftime, pushed their advantage to 18 in the second period and led 81-67 going into the fourth quarter.

"Every time we made a run," Woodson said, "they made plays coming back the other way. That's what great teams do."

The Pacers figure to present a far more physical challenge than the Knicks.

"This next series, I'm sure, will feel like it's played in a cage, it'll be that physical" Spoelstra said. "We'll see what adjustments we have to make."

There also was plenty of exit respect for Anthony.

"He deserves the respect we gave him," Spoelstra said, "which was the whole kitchen sink. Now that we can remove ourselves from this series, I don't know how you can stop that guy."

The Heat got into early foul trouble in the third period, with the Knicks in the bonus with 8:39 to play in the quarter. But the biggest whistle was the one that sent Stoudemire to the bench with 6:41 to play in the period.

Stoudemire had 10 points at the time. He fouled out with 4:48 to play, with 14 points and four rebounds.

For the second consecutive game, the Knicks shook up their lineup at the start of the second half, again going with guard J.R. Smith in place of Landry Fields to open the third period.

The Heat led 55-44 at halftime, their largest lead to that point.

The Heat did it by outrebounding the Knicks 23-13 in the first half and getting three first-half 3-pointers from forward Mike Miller.

The teams shot a combined 8 of 15 on 3-pointers in the first half, after opening a combined 0 for 22 in Sunday's Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.

Carmelo Anthony paced the Knicks with 15 first-half points, with LeBron James scoring 13 over the opening two periods to lead the Heat, supported by 12 in the first half from Dwyane Wade.

James did not score his first basket until converting a layup with 6:36 to play in the second period. He shot 7 of 8 from the line in the first half.

It was an odd first quarter, with the Heat taking a 28-24 lead into the second period despite not getting a single basket from James or Wade in the opening 12 minutes.

James, however, shot 7 of 8 from the line in the first quarter and had five assists, as the Heat got 11 points in the period from what had been a dormant bench, including a pair of 3-pointers from Miller.

The Knicks were led in the first quarter by eight points from emergency-fill-in point guard Mike Bibby, with Baron Davis sidelined by his devastating Game 4 knee injury. Bibby did not score in the second quarter.

Anthony scored seven points in the opening period, but after making a pair of shots, was forced out with 3:22 in the first quarter when called for his second foul, both against James.

NOTES: While Jeremy Lin worked during the morning shootaround and again before the game, the sidelined Knicks point guard said he was only "85 percent" back from his April 2 knee surgery and again was inactive. "It's tough," he said, "but the vets always tell me make sure I make the right decision, make sure the knee is 100 percent before I try to do something." ... Lin will be a restricted free agent this summer. "I'm definitely comfortable here," he said. "I love playing in New York. I love the fans. They gave me a chance. They believed in me. That's why I'm here today. I owe a lot to this organization." . . . Heat guard Dwyane Wade joked pregame about Mike Bibby actually making shots this season, after struggling mightily for the Heat last postseason. "We know Mike has made more shots in this series than he made all last year," Wade quipped . . . Wade retreated to the locker room briefly in the first quarter to change out his padded shorts.

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