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Knicks 102, Heat 92

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- After a dreadful first two months of the season, 2014 has been kind to the New York Knicks.

New York won its fourth game in five outings this month and earned its most impressive victory Thursday, turning back the defending champion Miami Heat 102-92 at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks (13-22) won their third straight for the first time this season. Coach Mike Woodson's team was 9-21 to close out 2013.

Miami (27-9) won 11 of its previous 13 games.

Forward Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 29 points, center Andrea Bargnani added 19 points, and point guard Raymond Felton contributed 13 points and 14 assists.

Playing in his 800th NBA game, forward LeBron James led the Heat with 32 points.

The Knicks started the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run to increase their lead to 82-71 with 9:33 remaining. A jumper and layup from Felton and a long 3-pointer from Anthony put the Knicks up 98-86 with 2:18 to play.

Miami scored just three baskets from the floor in the final 3:41 of the game.

Anthony scored eight points in the third quarter, draining two of three 3-pointers to help the Knicks take a 75-71 lead. Bargnani's three-point play tied it at 69-69. He followed that with a short jumper, and then dunks from Amar'e Stoudemire and Tim Hardaway Jr. gave the Knicks a 75-69 cushion before James scored on a layup for his 11th point of the quarter.

With James taking a breather, the Knicks opened the second quarter on an 11-2 burst and led 32-29 with 9:02 left. When he returned, James played the role of the playmaker, assisting on two 3-pointers from forward Rashard Lewis late in the quarter, helping Miami to a 48-43 halftime edge.

James scored 11 points in the first quarter, mainly with his mid-range jumper, as the Heat established a 27-21 advantage. Felton did a nice job of distributing, handing out six assists as the Knicks sank 10 shots.

NOTES: Knicks G J.R. Smith was fined $50,000 for "recurring instances of unsportsmanlike conduct" for twice attempting to untie the sneakers of an opponent in the Knicks' previous two games. ... The Knicks play eight straight games at Madison Square Garden between Jan. 17 and Feb. 1. ... Miami F Shane Battier missed his fourth straight game due to a left quad strain. ... Knicks C Tyson Chandler missed his second consecutive game because of an upper-respiratory infection. ... Knicks F Carmelo Anthony averages 39.2 minutes per game, tops in the NBA. ... Heat F LeBron James had a .589 field-goal percentage entering the game, the best mark among league forwards. He hit 12 of 17 shots against New York. ... The Heat led the NBA in field-goal percentage at .511 before Thursday's game. Miami shot .544 Thursday.
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