Lin, unable to find much room to operate or any steady rhythm, had his worst game since his fairy-tale run began three weeks ago. He finished with as many turnovers gucci outlet as points (8) and only three assists and went 1 for 11 from the field as the Knicks (17-18) slipped below .500 again. Carmelo Anthony tried to spark the Knicks late and finished with 19 points, but he was 7 for 20 from the field, which was emblematic of the Knicks’ night. Amar’e Stoudemire had few opportunities and finished with 13 points.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade used the night as a warm-up act for the All-Star exhibition on Sunday. They hounded the Knicks at one end and dunked at the other, combining for 42 points and 13 assists. Chris Bosh added 25 points and 8 rebounds for the Heat, who improved their league-leading record to 27-7.
Despite his early struggles — including a 2-point, 6-turnover first half — Lin kept attacking the basket, drawing fouls on Mario Chalmers, Wade and James in a five-minute span in the third quarter.
The call on James was questionable — he was firmly planted in the lane before Lin leaped into him — but the call indicated how far Lin has come, and how much respect he is receiving from officials and players alike. Lin hit his free throws, cutting the deficit to 66-59. But the Heat outscored the Knicks by 12-4 to close the third quarter and took a 14-point lead into the fourth.
The frenzy surrounding Lin, combined with the everyday frenzy of the Heat, made for an unusually intense atmosphere for what was, after all, a midseason game between two teams that are miles apart in the standings. There was nothing truly at stake, or at least that was the message Coach Mike D’Antoni tried to convey before tip-off.
“It’s one game,” D’Antoni said. “And we’re not there yet. They’re there. They’re the team right now to beat for everybody.”
As much as the Knicks had improved since their last trip here — a 99-89 loss on Jan. 27 — they are far from a finished product, with new players and a reshuffled rotation. They opened the fourth quarter with three players who were not even in the rotation in January: J. R. Smith, Baron Davis and Steve Novak.gucci women clothing online sale from a back injury, went 0 for 7 from the field, finishing with no points and three assists in 14 minutes. Smith, playing his fourth game since signing with the Knicks, scored 14 points.
“We’re in the process of building our team up,” D’Antoni said. “We’re going to be a different team in a month hopefully, and we have to be.”
None of that seemed to matter to the Heat, who attacked the Knicks from the opening tip-off, as if they hoped to quell Linsanity through sheer intensity. The Heat blocked seven shots in the first half and flustered the Knicks into 15 turnovers — six each by Stoudemire and Lin.
Every Knicks drive was met with a flurry of bumps, smacks and tangled limbs. Open jump shots were rare. Yet the Knicks somehow reached halftime trailing by just 4 points.
Anthony missed seven straight attempts in the half, but he made his last two, a 3-pointer and a 17-footer at the halftime buzzer, as the Knicks closed the gap to 51-47.
So the Knicks head into the All-Star break with a losing record but a renewed spirit, having won nine of 12 games, all since Lin became their point guard. The schedule gets much tougher after the break, but the Knicks will open March with a string of practice days, the first they have had with their revamped lineup.
D’Antoni was asked if he expected the Lin-fueled frenzy to subside in the season’s second half.
“I hope not,” he said. “That gucci women clothing 2012 cheap online means we’re winning.”