The Miami Heat went into Madison Square Garden yesterday for the first and only time this regular season, and proceeded to mash the spleens of the New York Knickerbockers to the tune of 93-85, snapping New York's nine-game home-winning streak, sweeping the season series against the Knicks and taking the Southeast Division title in the process.
Most importantly, however, the Heat finally got a big game from Chris Bosh and at least a decent game from their bench, although we're pretty sure Shane Battier is dead.
Carmelo Anthony started off smoking hot, hitting just about every single shot he heaved at the basket, finishing with a game-high 43 points on 14-for-27 shooting. Shane Battier must have gotten to a team meeting late last week because Erik Spoelstra refused to remove him from guarding Anthony, or even give him much help -- especially in iso situations, where Melo scorched Battier.
But when the fourth quarter rolled around, and it seemed as if Melo might lead the Knicks to the win, Spo called for LeBron James to guard Anthony, while they carried Battier off on a stretcher and put him in the back of one those old World War I ambulances with the red cross on the side.
Anthony's hot shooting suddenly met its demise under mysterious circumstances in the fourth quarter, where he only made two shots. And by "mysterious circumstances," we mean it was completely obliterated and set on fire and then shot out of a circus canon by LeBron's defense.
And while James was not as aggressive as he usually is, he did put up 29 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing off three assists. James got help from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh offensively in this one, so he was able to focus on showing everyone how awesome he is at defense, even though the entire world continues to ignore it all because he missed a free throw last week.
Wade, meanwhile, had yet another of his AWESOME-SHITTY-OH-LOOK-I'M-AWESOME-AGAIN! games. Wade led the Heat in scoring and energy to start off the game. But then in the third quarter, he did that thing where he just stops handing out fucks and got sloppy, turning the ball over and lazily forcing up perimeter jumpers. But then in the fourth, he again turned it on and hit some crucial shots down the stretch. Y U NO CARE FOR WHOLE GAME, DWYANE WADE?
It took a while, but Chris Bosh finally looked like the badass dinosaur we all thought we were getting from Toronto. Bosh took care of business on both ends of the floor, scoring 16 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, all against the defensive player of the year frontrunner Tyson Chandler.
This is huge, of course, because Bosh has been rather impotent in the rebounding and playing-like-you're-a-big-man department. And while we know Bosh will have moments where he'll disappear again, it's good to know that when remembers that he's half-man, half-velociraptor, he can deliver a huge game like this and be the catalyst for a big win for the Heat. It's a delicate balancing act with Chris Bosh. Always has been. He's not part of the typical tatted-up ball-so-hard prison yard macho hardass group most NBAers are. Bosh would probably rather hit the museum for tea rather than the club with some crunk juice. And that's cool. As long as he remembers to bring the hard shit during games!
So now that the Heat have won the division and proven that they're not a complete mess and the sky is indeed not falling, can Spo rest them for the rest of the season? Please? At one point yesterday LeBron stepped on a sideline photographer and rolled his ankle. That shit ain't funny. There are seven games remaining in the regular season. Time to shut it down, rest up, and get ready for the real games, Spo.
The Heat visit New Jersey tonight and hopefully the Big Three will be wearing suits and ties on the bench. Chris Bosh can wear his top hat and monocle, if he wants. Tipoff is at 7:30