Holy three-point shooting, Knicks. Of all the places to go on a heat check that lasted a whole half, the Heat’s own court was the backdrop of New York’s statement win Thursday night by handing LeBron, Wade and Bosh their worst home loss together, 112-92. The Knicks are a talented team, as their 13-4 record entering the game proved, but we’re willing to bet no one â€” Mike Woodson might have even laughed at you â€” would have seen that kind of a result happen on a night where Carmelo Anthony didn’t play. And also, that the Heat would follow a loss to the Wizards with another lost performance. ‘Melo sat because of stitches to close his middle finger, which prompted the Knicks to play small most the night and space the floor. Sure, there were mismatches, like when Tyson Chandler was alone on LeBron as New York’s only big, but it culminated in a third quarter where the Knicks had the Midas touch from deep, hitting eight threes in those 12 minutes for 37 points. Raymond Felton (27 points, 6-of-10 from threes) had two triples in the first two minutes (after hitting a three in the final seconds to close the first half), one when the ball got bounced back out on a tip rebound. Chandler (13 points, nine boards) was a master at getting a piece of the ball to redirect it to shooters when he was beat on position for the board. And, just as importantly, giving the Knicks a chance to whip the ball around with ball movement that was a step ahead of Miami. Steve Novak took the baton from Felton with four threes and 18 points. His back-to-back field goals, one a triple and another a step-in jumper from the same spot, came halfway through the fourth quarter and ended any comeback from Miami AND was the moment he and ‘Sheed (12 points and seven boards, but 0-6 from deep) broke out their title belt dances. The Knicks were so on fire from three that they shot 41 percent (on 44 attempts) despite shooting nothing but threes in the final five minutes to twist the knife deeper. Those 44 attempts, by the way, are only two more than New York’s total from Wednesday night but the most in a regular-season game since 2009. … LeBron had a sensational game with 31, ten and nine, a double-jump alley-oop and another huge dunk with a 30-foot running start, but he didn’t have his right-hand man, Wade (13 points, 3-of-13). According to ESPN’s stats department, his -33 plus/minus was the worst of his career. … Hit the jump to hear about trade rumors about Pau Gasol.
Marcin Gortat ensured there wasn’t a letdown between the Knicks’ finish and the Suns-Mavericks start. He caught an alley-oop over the back of a defender off Michael Beasley‘s dime from 26 feet on the first possession. We were still discussing that Knicks win when BOOM, the first two points were off a thunderous oop. On “Satisfaction Guaranteed” night in Phoenix, where fans got their cash back if they weren’t entertained, it was a great start. It was a good finish, too – for Dallas. Fast forward to the fourth quarter and Brandan Wright (16 points on 8-of-12 shooting) capped a nice game with a trio of big plays to get Dallas the W, 97-94. He stripped Luis Scola at the free throw line, getting the Mavs two points on an ensuing clear path foul. Then he got a putback bucket to keep the Mavs ahead a couple possessions in the quarter’s final two minutes. Markieff Morris‘s 15th point (to go with 17 boards) was a triple to pull the Suns within two points inside a minute and, with Suns executive Robert Sarver unable to watch with his head between his knees, the Suns tied it up with free throws with 48 seconds left. After O.J. Mayo broke the tie with a turnaround J (the last two of his game-high 23) it was a game of free throws – until Wright slapped away Sebastian Telfair’s three attempt with six seconds left. Shannon Brown‘s midcourt heave missed by three feet and Dallas got out with a pretty ugly win in the desert. … Pau Gasol isn’t out of Los Angeles yet but trade winds are circling. A couple offers have been thrown Mitch Kupchak‘s way according to reports, which include a Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic combo from Minnesota. From Toronto, possibly Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon and Linas Kleiza have been talked about. Along with Hornets forward Ryan Anderson, who is Bargnani but younger, the options are fine but don’t seem to make the Lakers any more agile to run Mike D’Antoni‘s uptempo offense any better. The Lakers have to decide if Pau is damaged goods, mentally, while being superior athletically than any one player they could receive back. Also, maybe this is a sign that L.A. is confident it can re-sign Dwight Howard and wouldn’t need a big man like Gasol. … We’re out like Miami’s perimeter D.
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