Wade began defense of his NBA scoring title with 26 points, Jermaine O’Neal finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, and the Miami Heat opened with a 115-93 win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.
New starting power forward Michael Beasley scored 21 for Miami, which made 26 of 31 shots in a staggering 20-minute stretch spanning the second and third quarters, turning a close game into a blowout.
“Pick your poison,” Beasley said. “When we all play like that, it makes the game a whole lot easier.”
Here’s one way to put that absurd Heat shooting spree into perspective: Miami missed fewer shots (five) in more than 1 1/2 quarters than New York’s Al Harrington did (six) in the second quarter alone.
David Lee scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds for New York. Danilo Gallinari added 22 off the bench for the Knicks, who were 10-of-39 from 3-point range.
“We couldn’t make shots and couldn’t stop them,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “That’s not a good combo.”
Miami shot 14-of-17 from the floor in the second quarter, following that up with a 14-of-21 showing in the third. Meanwhile, New York was the gang that couldn’t shoot straight: The up-tempo Knicks were only 5-of-28 from 3-point range through three quarters, plus only managed eight fast-break points in the game’s first 37 minutes.
Daequan Cook scored 15 for Miami, with Mario Chalmers adding 11 to the balanced Heat scoring column.
“When the ball is moving, everyone is getting their opportunities and it makes everyone play hard on the other end of the floor,” Wade said. “That’s what we want to do.”
Wilson Chandler finished with 21 for New York, which got 15 from Harrington.
“We need to learn from this loss and keep our heads up,” Gallinari said. “It’s tough to play defense against them 1-on-1, especially O’Neal and D-Wade.”
The Heat retired former point guard Tim Hardaway’s No. 10 before the game, then gave him the best seat in the house, courtside and opposite Miami’s bench.
Given all the Knicks-Heat tussles he was part of as a player, he had to enjoy this show.
“A special night for all of us involved,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Hours before the start of the 2009-10 season — predictably — Wade fielded questions about 2010-11, especially since both the Knicks and Heat are expected to be major players in the long-expected free agent bonanza next summer. Wade can opt out of his contract and become a free agent, joining that fray.
“Not thinking about it,” Wade said wryly.
Forget 2010. It sure seems like Miami wants to win right now.
Three dunks in a 40-second span late in the half — O’Neal on a rare breakaway for a center, Wade after Harrington missed a slam at the Knicks’ end, and then O’Neal again on a nifty bounce pass into the heart of the lane by Chalmers — gave Miami a 10-point lead.
And in the third quarter, the dam burst.
Miami put it away with a 32-8 run. O’Neal had 10 points and six rebounds in the period alone.
Even Quentin Richardson, the former Knicks forward who was traded away this summer — then traded again and again before landing in Miami — got into the act, making a 3-pointer with 8:05 left in the third, then giving the New York bench a long stare.
“I was out there having fun,” Beasley said. “I was yelling, screaming … I felt like a kid in a candy shop today.”
Knicks F Darko Milicic was shaken up with 8:28 left, remaining down under the Heat basket for a few moments before gingerly walking into the New York locker room, to have his left knee checked out. It was not believed to be serious. … The Knicks missed 11 straight shots late in the first quarter. … O’Neal and Richardson left tickets for former Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, now the coach at FIU.