NEW YORK — Playing with a "Ray Lewis-style" defensive mentality is working well for the Miami Heat, but they still need that offensive burst once in a while.
Dwyane Wade was happy to deliver it when asked Friday.
Wade had 30 points and nine rebounds, and the Heat spoiled New York's return to Christmas competition, snapping the Knicks' three-game winning streak with a 93-87 victory.
Michael Beasley added 13 of his 19 points after halftime for the Heat, who opened a comfortable lead by limiting New York to 31 points across the middle two quarters. Then Wade provided a series of baskets after the Knicks finally got on track in the final minutes, scoring 10 points in the final 5:47.
"There was a point when I walked out of the huddle our assistant coach, Coach (David) Fizdale said, 'Take us home,' and I just had that mentality," Wade said. "Early in the game I was picking my spots … at that moment, I said it was time for me to be a little bit more aggressive, so I just had that take us home mentality."
Until then, Miami relied on its second straight strong defensive effort, having held Utah to 70 points in a victory Wednesday. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said that's the way his team has to play.
"We're not a team that can come out and spar and see the pace of the game and then get going," Spoelstra said. "That's just not our personality. We have to be on edge however we get there, Ray Lewis-style. We have to dictate the energy and tempo of the game from the beginning."
Danilo Gallinari scored 26 points and David Lee had 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Knicks, who had a six-game home winning streak snapped and lost for just the third time in 10 games overall. They were playing in their NBA-leading 45th Christmas game, but first since beating Toronto in 2001.
Coach Mike D'Antoni said the Knicks' rare nationally televised game was a chance to send a message about how well they were playing – only the Lakers, Celtics and Cavaliers had better records in December than the 8-3 New York entered with.
Instead, the viewing audience saw the Knicks go just 5 of 28 on 3-pointers and finish with a season-low 11 assists. Al Harrington missed 15 of 20 shots while scoring 12 points.
"They do play good defense and you've got to give them credit," D'Antoni said. "But at the same time I really thought we had a lot of wide-open shots and we just missed and you are going to miss some."
Udonis Haslem scored 12 points and Jermaine O'Neal finished with 11 points and eight boards, making a jumper with 51 seconds left after Miami's lead had been sliced to three points.
With the Knicks wearing green uniforms and the Heat in their red, the game had a festive look, just not always a pretty one. New York missed the rim twice on the same possession in the first quarter, and neither team reached 30 points until midway through the second.
The Knicks managed 14 points in the second quarter, one off their season low, and missed 14 of their 16 3-point attempts in the first half, which ended with Miami leading 41-37.
"I think we missed a lot of shots that were open shots. I think we just missed them," Gallinari said.
With their offense stalled, it might've been a time for the Knicks to look for a spark from Nate Robinson, but he was benched for the 11th straight game.
The Heat scored the first six out of the break to open a 10-point lead on Wade's jumper, then pushed it to 52-41 when O'Neal converted a three-point play with 8:29 remaining in the third period. Wade scored 10 points in the period as Miami took a 64-54 lead.
Spoelstra gave his players two Christmas presents: a word-a-day calendar to improve their vocabularies. and "The Energy Bus," a motivational book by Jon Gordon. No sophisticated gifts from D'Antoni to his players, though. "All the books I have are already colored in, so I couldn't do it," D'Antoni joked. … Wade, who can become a free agent in July, reminded everyone of an advantage Miami will have in keeping him. Asked if he could see himself in New York, Wade said, "I'm here now. It's cold." He could be back at Madison Square Garden next summer if he opts to return to the U.S. national team. The Americans are finalizing a deal with MSG officials to play an exhibition game in New York before the world championships. … Knicks center Eddy Curry is frustrated after getting himself back into playing shape, then quickly falling out of the rotation. "Just because I worked so hard to get back and to be ready to go and now it's just like, every game just try to figure out if I'm going to play or not," he said. "Sitting over there waiting to see what's going happen, it's tough to deal with."
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