James (32) leads Heat past Knicks in Game 1, 100-67
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MIAMI -- Tyson Chandler was in a weakened state from being in bed with the flu the previous two days, but he still had enough strength to deliver a bone-crushing pick that sent LeBron James reeling.
But the Knicks were the ones who took a devastating hit in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. James showed why they will need some spectacular performances if they're going to make this best-of-seven competitive.
James scored 32 points, two more than the Knicks' five starters combined, and led the second-seeded Heat to a 100-67 victory Saturday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Knicks also lost rookie starting guard Iman Shumpert to a torn left ACL.
The Knicks trailed by one midway through the second quarter before a 32-2 run put the Heat up 62-31 early in the third quarter. Miami later led the seventh-seeded Knicks by 37 points.
"I wish I could explain it," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "I thought we played well, came out ready to play. And then all hell broke loose."
With James going off, the Knicks needed their star small forward to carry them to their first postseason victory since 2001. But Carmelo Anthony looked nothing like the player who scored 42 points against the Heat two weeks ago, or won the Eastern Conference player of the month for April.
The Heat fronted Anthony with mostly James and trapped him when he got the ball. Anthony missed his first seven shots and didn't make his first basket until 2:07 remained in the first half. He finished 3-for-15 with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
"It's a bad feeling," Anthony said. "But we're not going to get down on ourselves. This game happened. It's over. We learn from it.''
Amar'e Stoudemire also was mostly invisible. He scored nine points, shooting 2-for-7, and had five rebounds.
Game 2 will be Monday night in Miami, and the Knicks won't have Shumpert, their best perimeter defender, who is expected to be out six to eight months with the torn ACL and lateral meniscus.
It was a struggle for Chandler from the beginning, as he said he felt "dizzy and foggy." In 21 minutes, he finished with zero points, seven turnovers and a hard foul that brought out the best in James.
With the Heat leading 45-31 and 1:34 remaining in the first half, Chandler set a back screen on James around midcourt, and James' neck whiplashed. The initial call was a flagrant foul 2, which would have resulted in ejection, but the officials reviewed and downgraded it to a flagrant 1.
"I thought it was a legal pick, honestly," Chandler said. "He didn't see me coming. I didn't think it was illegal at all."
Either way, the damage was done for Chandler and the Knicks. It was his fourth foul of the first half -- all offensive -- and it got James stoked.
He made both free throws and then hit a tough bank shot while being fouled, converting the free throw to make it a five-point trip for James and the Heat. He followed that with a long fadeaway jumper and a driving layup.
"It was one of those hits that hurt, but I'm all right now," James said. "I played football, so I've been hit harder than that."
James finished 10-for-14 from the field and 11-for-14 from the line. Dwyane Wade added 19 points for the Heat. For the Knicks, J.R. Smith had 17 points and Baron Davis 10 before being shut down with back tightness.
Despite the awful start by Anthony and getting nothing from Chandler, Smith's three-pointer with 6:53 left in the first half brought the Knicks within 30-29. But they completely unraveled after that.
The Knicks were careless and out of sync and just didn't play smart basketball in getting utterly dominated. They were outscored 30-13 in the second quarter, took one foul shot to 20 by Miami and committed 13 turnovers. Chandler had five of them, three on offensive fouls.
"Everybody was excited about stepping out on the floor and playing," Woodson said. "Hey, they hit us in the mouth. So we got to see what we're made of now. All is not bad yet. We just gotta come back and regroup and get ready for Game 2.''