Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) reacts after fouling in the...

Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) reacts after fouling in the third quarter during a basketball game against the Chicago Bulls. (March 6, 2011) Credit: AP

ATLANTA - Mike D'Antoni just might be the Miami Heat's biggest sympathizer.

The Knicks' coach watched Sunday afternoon as the Heat lost its fourth straight game, falling to the Bulls, 87-86, and spoke encouragingly about the plight that he and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra share.

"When your main core are together for a couple, three years, you can add pieces, you can change pieces, it doesn't change that much," D'Antoni said before the Knicks' game against the Hawks. "But when you change your identity, it's tough. And Erik is right in the firestorm. It's not easy. People need to give everybody time, time to get through it. It's a little bit like us now; you've got to figure things out. And for a coach, it's a process. And they'll be fine. The biggest thing is, and I'm sure they know - and I'm not giving anybody advice, but - not to panic and just go and they'll figure it out. They're too good not to figure it out."

Several players, according to Spoelstra, were reduced to tears after Miami's loss to Chicago, which capped a week that began with last Sunday's 91-86 home loss to the Knicks. For yet another game, the Heat - proclaimed by many to be the favorite in the East - fell apart in the final seconds.

The Knicks have had their share of late-game miscues and indecision since Carmelo Anthony came on board seven games ago, and when the game is on the line, D'Antoni must ask himself which one of his Big 3 - Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire or Chauncey Billups - should take the final shot.

For that reason, D'Antoni believes the Knicks "to a certain degree" are in a situation similar to that of the Heat.

"People are real impatient, which they should be," he said. "It's not a criticism, but the reality of it is teams need time to come together and they need to go through tough times. It's how you go through tough times and how you come out on the other side that makes you or breaks you. And for us, right now is a tough time. We've got to go through this and get to the other side, and I'm sure Miami feels the same way."

D'Antoni also showed compassion for the Heat's postgame tear session.

"Sometimes fans don't realize the emotional investment into a game or a series or a big game or a losing streak," he said. "They go away and it leaves marks. I can still remember things that you lose 20 years ago and it hurts . . . But if you play with passion, you're going to have that, so I think it's great."