Heat Check: Chris Bosh's big night paves way for much-needed win
MIAMI -- With both the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks struggling, the rivalry between them isn't what it used to be.
But that doesn't mean they're not capable of putting on an entertaining show, as they did Monday night when the Heat pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 109-95 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena.
New York raced out to an early double-digit lead thanks to hot shooting from Carmelo Anthony, who knocked down his first five shots -- including four 3-pointers -- to start the game. The Knicks shot 52.2 percent from the field through the first 12 minutes, with Anthony responsible for 14 of the team's 32 points in the first quarter.
Whether it was due to injury or because of early foul trouble, Hassan Whiteside struggled to make an impact in the first half in his return to the starting lineup after missing Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs with a sprained ankle.
Without his usual rebounding, interior defense and touch around the basket, the Heat struggled to keep up with Anthony and the Knicks despite Chris Bosh scoring 13 points in the second quarter. Luol Deng and Norris Cole with 12 and 10 first-half points, respectively, did their part to keep the Heat within striking distance.
Whiteside would come around in the third quarter, with seven points and six rebounds as Miami turned the game around. But it was the Heat's sizzling start to the fourth quarter that put them ahead for good. The Knicks had no answer for Bosh down the stretch, who picked up his production as Anthony fizzled.
"We really just made simple plays, trusted the next guy, and then the next guy knocking his shot down," Bosh said. "When guys are aggressive, usually good things happen for us. When we can play without thinking so much, that usually plays into our advantage."
Miami picked up the home win behind efficient play from their backcourt in Dwyane Wade's continued absence along with Deng's all-around game and effective play from Whiteside and Chris Andersen to complement Bosh's big night.
"It was good to be on the other end of that at home," head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It was a good second half. A lot of energy and a lot of guys were involved and contributed in the second half."
THE TURNING POINT
Miami's 12-2 run that stretched through the end of the third quarter and into the fourth gave the Heat their biggest lead of the night to that point.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Bosh opened the fourth quarter by scoring the first seven points for Miami and finished with 32 points to lead all scorers. He was deadly from long range, going 4 of 6 on 3-pointers.
STAT OF THE GAME
MIami improved to 18-1 all-time when Bosh scores at least 30 points.
The Heat visit LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday at 8 p.m.