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Homer D. Sayson
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List of Articles by Homer D. Sayson


 

NBA PLAYOFFS -- Heat ousts Knicks, storms through Round 2

By Homer D. Sayson
PhilBoxing.com
10 May 2012



SINCE the 2012 playoffs began last April 28, LeBron James has been wearing a mouthpiece inscribed with the roman numerals XVI, which represents the number of wins the Miami Heat needs to capture this year's NBA title.

That magic number 16 was reduced to 12 Wednesday night when James and company clinched their best-of-7 series against the New York Knicks with a 106-94 Game 5 victory at the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami.

The No.2 seeded Heat will play No.3 Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals beginning with Game 1 this Sunday in Miami.

"We will savor this win tonight and then we go to work tomorrow and get ready for Indiana," said James, who came to within a whiff of a triple-double with 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

Undermanned, and often overwhelmed, throughout the series, the Knicks avoided an embarassing sweep and escaped elimination Sunday afternoon by carving out a gutsy come-from-behind 89-87 victory at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

But in Miami's homecourt, an intimidating lair where the Heat were 28-5 in the regular season and unbeaten so far in the postseason, the Knicks were doomed.

After a slow start which allowed the Knicks to stay up 20-14 in the 4:26 mark of the opening quarter, the Heat cranked up their offense and stormed to a 55-44 halftime lead. They stretched the gap further to 81-67 after three quarters, and when Dwyane Wade sank two free throws to make it 94-75 with only 6:37 left in the final period, the Knicks demise was sealed.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the two other pillars of Miami's vaunted Big 3 alongside James, punctured the Knicks defense with a combined 39 points. Wade also had four rebounds and three assists while Bosh tallied seven rebounds and a steal.

Carmelo Anthony had 35 points for the vanquished Knicks. But it wasn't exactly a crowning achievement for teamwork as Anthony took 31 of his team's 76 field goals. Amare Stoudemire, the other Knick All-Star, took just seven shots, leaving serious doubt about the ability of both forwards to co-exist in the Big Apple.

"We fought, under the circumstances," said Anthony, apparently alluding to the spate of injuries that have hindered the Knicks' season.

After losing budding star guard Jeremy Lin to knee surgery in mid-March the Knicks lost rookie sensation Iman Shumpert to a torn ACL early in the playoffs. Last Sunday, Baron Davis left The Garden in a stretcher, knocked out by a potential career-ending knee injury.

Anthony and Stoudemire have not been immuned to injuries, either. Both missed a bulk of regular season games due to various aches and pains. And Stoudemire missed Game 3 of this series with a lacerated hand after punching the glass encasement of a fire extinguisher following New York's Game 2 loss in Miami.

Mercifully, it's all over now for New York. No more worries. No more pains. Just a plane flight home.

"I'm not one to make excuses," Anthony added. "But Miami, they're a tough defensive team. They stick to what their schemes are." (Homer D. Sayson)


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