Goran Dragic had 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and the Miami Heat breezed to an easy victory a night after going down to the wire, beating the New York Knicks 105-88 on Wednesday night.
Reserve James Johnson added 18 points for the Heat, who began play eighth in the Eastern Conference and a game behind Indiana for seventh as they continue a second-half surge that could carry them to the postseason.
Josh Richardson finished with 17 points as Miami (37-38) improved to 26-8 since an 11-30 start.
Kristaps Porzingis had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who were eliminated from postseason contention for the fourth straight season since winning the Atlantic Division in 2012-13. Carmelo Anthony was scoreless in the first half and finished with nine points on 4-of-12 shooting. >> Read more
- The Heat epitomize many things the Knicks should aspire to be as they look to grow. Still a work in progress, Miami has found its way into playoff contention by exhibiting a physical and tireless effort night in and night out. Priding themselves on hustle and defense, the Heat roster is comprised of a slew of D-League alums. There's little star presence, but certainly plenty of gritty, hard-nosed athletes who do the little things. As the Knicks hope to continue finding underrated talent in unconventional ways, the team can only crave they find players with similar tenacity.
- With something much greater at stake, Miami was clearly hungrier for a win. The referees could have given New York more benefits of the doubt, but Miami's aggressive nature proved to be successful. They pummeled the Knicks on both ends of the floor, throwing elbows, grabbing onto jerseys, tossing players down, etc. It was a brand of basketball that boded well against an opponent with little desire.
- Jeff Hornacek made a questionable decision to insert Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis back in during the fourth quarter with the Knicks down 16. Anthony went scoreless in the first half and didn't look motivated to free himself up to get better shot attempts. He looked to have been checked out. As this season comes to a close, the window on his Knicks tenure seems to be shutting with each passing game.
- This latest bit of increased playing time for Ron Baker should be especially helpful for New York as they plan ahead. With no jump shot and still much to learn when facilitating an offense, Baker doesn't warrant consistently heavy minutes just yet. Still, he's an absolute bulldog on defense with a lot of fight in him. He's slowly solidifying his place as a rotation backup next season. There should be a role as he continues to develop.