East-leading Heat cruise past Knicks
MIAMI (AP) — Duncan Robinson scored 25 points while shooting 7 of 11 from 3-point range, leading four Miami players with 20 or more points in the Heat’s 110-96 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.
Jimmy Butler added 22 points, Tyler Herro scored 21 and P.J. Tucker had 20 for the Eastern Division-leading Heat, who have won eight of 10.
Miami never trailed and maintained a double-digit advantage after outscoring New York 30-16 in the first quarter.
“We were aggressive from the start,” Tucker said. “We wanted to be aggressive defensively, put pressure on their guards, make sure Julius Randle didn’t get a lot of easy looks.”
The Heat limited Randle, New York’s leading scorer, to 11 points.
Dewayne Dedmon’s two free throws late in the third quarter gave the Heat their largest lead at 88-58.
“Any time you can get hot and kind of get it going, that sort of stuff can be momentum-building, contagious in that sense,” Robinson said. “So you try to maximize it when you’re going through a stretch like this. It doesn’t necessarily mean you change anything. Just continue to maintain and it’s certainly a lot easier when you have the guys who find you in situations to be successful.”
Although he was limited to six points, Bam Adebayo had 11 assists and eight rebounds for Miami, which won its sixth straight at home against New York.
“A lot of guys stepped up, but I would say Bam just really created a lot of triggers for us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He got a lot of guys open, guys into movement and creating actions, which forced some overreactions and created some ball movement from there. And everybody started to capitalize with those open shots.”
The Heat shot 16 of 37 on 3-pointers and 20 of 22 free throws. Robinson also is 16 of 29 from beyond the arc in his last three games.
“We got in the hole early and it’s hard to get out of that,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “They put a lot of pressure on us. When you give a team confidence like that early, especially a team as good as this, you pay for it. And we did.”
Obi Toppin scored 18 points and RJ Barrett 17 for the Knicks, who have lost five of six and last won in Miami on March 31, 2017.
“We went against a championship-caliber team today and I felt we didn’t bring the energy from the jump,” Toppin said. “We’re going to learn from this loss and get better.”
The Heat played their fifth straight without starting point guard Kyle Lowry, who is out because of personal reasons.
Knicks: C Mitchell Robinson returned after a one-game absence because of left ankle soreness and had seven points in 29 minutes. ... C Nerlens Noel (left knee soreness) did not play. After sitting out four consecutive games, Noel appeared in New York’s back-to-back set against the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Sunday and Monday. ... F Cam Reddish played 10 minutes and scored six points. He has sat out five of seven games since being acquired in a trade with Atlanta on Jan. 13.
Heat: Tucker’s 10 points in the first quarter were a season high in any period. ... G Gabe Vincent finished with eight points, snapping his double-digit scoring streak at four while replacing Lowry in the starting lineup. ... F Max Strus missed his six 3-point attempts and his streak of multiple makes from beyond the arc ended at 15 games.
AT LONG LAST
It took the Knicks 49 games and the Heat 48 to face their last Eastern Conference opponent. The clubs will have two additional regular-season games on Feb. 25 and March 25.
The Knicks have yet to face Western Conference clubs Memphis, Utah, Portland and Sacramento, while San Antonio remains the only opponent the Heat haven’t played. They square off in San Antonio on Feb. 3.
Knicks: Travel to Milwaukee to play the defending NBA champion Bucks on Friday night.
Heat: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.
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