The numbers suggest the Miami Heat’s first-round elimination of the New York Knicks in five games was a routine demolition of an inferior team. The player say something different.
‘Even though it was a five-game series,” Miami all-star guard Dwyane Wade said after the Heat’s 106-94 victory Wednesday night, ”it was a very tough series.”
The Knicks, undermanned at times, overwhelmed at others, still put forth an effort that required Miami to earn its second-round place against the Indiana Pacers.
”We do not take this for granted,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ”This was a tough series. We feel very good about moving on and it’ll only get tougher from here.”
There was hardly a celebration after Wednesday’s victory. The Heat have but one ambition — winning the championship — and so advancing was just part of the process. And it happened the way it usually happens for Miami: with LeBron James and Wade leading the way.
James had 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, Chris Bosh and Wade both scored 19 as the Heat earned an early lead and cruised the rest of the way. Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points for the Knicks, but had to take 31 shots. He just did not have enough offensive help and New York did not have the team defense to slow James, Wade and Co.
”There’s a lot of pride that takes place in this kind of series,” Wade said.
For the Knicks, they accepted they lost to a better team, but hoped the experience would bear results in the future.
‘I thought we played well in spurts,” Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson said. ”Our guys got a short taste of what playoff basketball’s about. It’s something this summer we’ve got to sit and think about and hopefully get ready for next season.”
Meanwhile, Miami marches on, opening its series against the Pacers on Sunday in Miami.