LeBron James wears mask and wears out Knicks with 31 points in Heat romp

Miami Heat small forward LeBron James drives as

Miami Heat small forward LeBron James drives as Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (Credit: AP / Alan Diaz)

MIAMI - Carmelo Anthony did everything he could for the first 29 minutes to keep the Knicks in the game, but he needed help and got little from his teammates.

This has been the ongoing narrative of the Knicks' season. It's magnified against the Heat because LeBron James doesn't have to do everything by himself. You can't blame Anthony if he looks for that type of situation when he hits free agency this summer.

Anthony, who scored 29 of the Knicks' first 57 points Thursday night, said he feels as if he has to do too much "a lot." But once again it wasn't enough. The Heat took control with a 23-3 run to end the third quarter and blew out the Knicks, 108-82, as their playoff hopes continued to fade.

The Knicks (21-37) have dropped four straight and 10 of their last 12. They're a season-worst 16 games under .500 and 5 1/2 games out of the East's last playoff spot with 24 to go.

"We're not playing like a team that's fighting to make the playoffs," J.R. Smith said.

James, looking like Batman in a black mask protecting the nose he broke against Oklahoma City last week, shot 13-for-19 and scored 31 points. Dwyane Wade was 10-for-13 and scored 23 points for the two-time defending champs.

Five players reached double figures for the Heat, which shot 60.8 percent from the field and scored 66 points in the paint.

Anthony finished with 29 points and watched most of the fourth quarter from the bench, looking dazed and frustrated.

"I think it's pretty much numbing to him now," Smith said. "The way things are going, that's not good for anybody."

Tyson Chandler added 19 points and 16 rebounds. Raymond Felton, who was arrested Tuesday morning on felony gun charges, shot 1-for-7 and scored two points in 31 minutes.

The Knicks cut a 16-point first-half deficit to two in the third quarter. They were down 64-61 when Anthony's three-pointer rimmed out. Then Miami ran away with the game, taking an 87-64 lead into the fourth.

"All hell broke loose," Mike Woodson said.

Said Anthony, "We just crumbled."

James had 12 points in the third-quarter run, shredding the Knicks with drives and dunks. "It got out of hand," Anthony said.

The Knicks appeared in trouble midway through the second quarter after falling behind 45-29. They were getting beaten defensively all over the floor and couldn't connect on offense, except for Anthony.

He led the Knicks back with a 16-point second quarter and they went into the locker room down five at the half. But the Knicks couldn't stay with the Heat.

"They're hitting on all cylinders, everybody," Anthony said. "Their Big Three is playing extremely well so you never really know where it's coming from. That first half, LeBron was able to sit back, and then in the third quarter, he picked it up."

Notes & quotes: The Knicks signed guard Shannon Brown and forward Earl Clark to 10-day contracts. Both played . . . Iman Shumpert, who sprained his left MCL last Wednesday, has been running and jumping but hasn't cut or been cleared for contact . . . Kenyon Martin (left ankle) remains in a walking boot and his return date is unclear. He has missed 11 consecutive games. Martin said he will be in the boot for at least another week.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

NBA video

advertisement | advertise on newsday