Carmelo Anthony is going to need much more help offensively if the Knicks end up meeting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

But that could be a big if. The Knicks haven't secured a spot yet, falling to eighth place with Sunday's 93-85 loss to Miami, and Tyson Chandler hurt his left knee in the game.

Chandler left the locker room saying he was sore, but he expects to play Tuesday against Boston.

With six games left and the Knicks (31-29) still fighting for a playoff spot, they can't afford to lose their defensive anchor. But it was the Knicks' offense that hurt them against the Heat (42-17) and its Big Three.

Anthony scored nearly half the Knicks' points, finishing with 42 and shooting 14-for-27. J.R. Smith was the only other Knick to take more than eight shots (15) and to score in double figures (16 points).

"We have to make things easier for him," Chandler said. "He's carrying the load right now and he's doing a lot of it with two or three guys draped all over him."

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Anthony loves these moments and thrives in them. But against James, Wade and Chris Bosh, he was at a major disadvantage.

James had 29 points and 10 rebounds, Wade added 28 points and nine boards, and Bosh had 16 points and 14 rebounds. They totaled 14 of the Heat's final 18 points after the Knicks took a 79-75 lead with 8:08 remaining.

"We didn't have any flow," Anthony said. "Guys were just trying to find where they were going to get the ball, where they were going to shoot the ball from. This is the first time in a long time that I've seen that in our offense."

The Knicks erased an 11-point first-quarter deficit and a nine-point third-quarter hole, but after Smith's slam gave them their four-point lead -- their biggest of the game -- their offense fell apart as they repeatedly settled for jumpers.

They went the next 4:13 without a basket and shot 2-for-10 in the final 8:07 (1-for-6 from three-point range) as Miami ended the game on an 18-6 run. "We got so stagnant offensively," Mike Woodson said.

Despite dropping to eighth in the Eastern Conference, a half- game behind the 76ers and two games up on the Bucks, the Knicks remain confident about not only making the playoffs but doing well -- even against the Heat.

The No. 8 seed likely will play the Bulls. The seventh seed probably will get the Heat.

"I like our chances against this team," Baron Davis said.

"I think it's a good matchup," Smith said. "Hopefully we'll have back and get him at least 90 percent by the playoffs. I think it's going to be a different story in the postseason."

Stoudemire would be a welcome addition for the Knicks, who are 41/2 games behind Atlantic Division-leading Boston and four games behind sixth-place Orlando.

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Stoudemire should be back this week after trying to recover from a bulging disc in his back, but he might not have his explosiveness. He and Anthony also haven't proven they can play together successfully.

But the Knicks need someone else, especially against a quick and athletic team like the Heat. The Knicks became too reliant on Anthony, who scored 29 of their first 53 points. Some of his teammates seemed as if they were scared to shoot. The seven who played who didn't score in double figures totaled 31 shots, four more than Anthony, and made only 11 of them.

"I had to do that," said Anthony (nine rebounds, five assists). "Just be aggressive, keep attacking, keep some pressure on them guys, because if you just let their defense set, they're one of the better teams in the NBA at setting their defense and focusing in on the ball."