MIAMI – The Miami Heat and New York Knicks turned back the clock to the days when every game, or so it seemed, came down to the final seconds.
On Friday, the teams did that one better, with the game being coming down to the final seconds twice, once each at the end of regulation and overtime.
After New York tied the score with 1.1 second remaining in regulation on Doug McDermott’s 3-pointer, the Heat scored the final four points of overtime to escape with a 107-103 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat (21-17) are a season-high four games above .500 and moved into fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Miami has won 10-of-14 and three in a row.
“I love the fact that we found a way to win in an overtime game that could have been emotionally draining,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “To win a game at home shooting 40 percent that wasn’t particularly smooth at all times, you just got to find a way. We’ve been trying to be much more consistent and better at home.”
Miami circled this game for the last five weeks, or since being drubbed in New York, 115-86. This week, Tyler Johnson said the Heat were “whopped” and Spoelstra said the Heat “cringed” when they watched the film.
That motivation helped the Heat even the season series with the Knicks (18-21).
The game was won from beyond the 3-point line and the foul line. Miami attempted a franchise-high 42 threes. Although they made just 12, two came in overtime, including one by Wayne Ellington that gave Miami a lead it never relinquished.
Ellington also etched his name into the record books with a franchise-high 16 3-point attempts, one more than Brian Shaw put up in 1993. Ellington made six.
Ellington led the Heat with 24 points. Goran Dragic added 19.
“Wayne, taking 16 threes, I love it,” Spoelstra said. “I wish he would have gotten off 20.”
Miami finished 19-of-20 from the free-throw line, including knocking down six in the final 1:24 of regulation and making all six in overtime. Josh Richardson made all seven of his attempts, including four late in regulation and two with seven seconds remaining in overtime.
Courtney Lee scored 24 points for the Knicks. Former Heat player Michael Beasley, who this week went from saying Spoelstra didn’t believe in him to saying the Heat coach was one of his favorite people, finished with 20.
Here are our five takeaways:
Three-point barrage: They needed the overtime, but the Heat broke the franchise record for attempts. Miami launched 39 threes in regulation and surpassed the previous record of 41 in overtime. Miami needed every one, including two in overtime, one each by Dragic and Ellington, the latter giving Miami a 103-101 lead it never relinquished.
“What has this organization come to?” Spoelstra asked. “I’m sure I’m going to have to go upstairs and talk to Pat (Riley) about getting the ball in the post or something.
“The shots presented themselves. I thought they were good looks.”
Back-and-forth fourth (and OT): The Heat held a four-point lead entering the fourth quarter before the Knicks scored the first nine points, as the Heat were clanking their first seven shots, to take an 80-75 lead. The run was sparked by a McDermott four-point play. The Knicks eventually pushed the lead to six before the game became a nail biter. The overtime was much the same until Ellington’s three gave the Heat lead and Richardson and James Johnson sealed the win with four free throws in the final 25 seconds.
“Definitely headed in the right direction,” said Kelly Olynyk, who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. “We’re getting bodies back, playing the right way, playing together, playing hard and you can see the chemistry is just starting to come together. Guys are playing together on both ends of the floor and playing well as a team.”
Mucking it up: It wasn’t quite old-school Heat-Knicks but the game turned ugly at times, especially in the second quarter, when they combined for 11 turnovers, including one stretch when the Knicks gave it away on four consecutive possessions and the Heat thanked them by giving it right back to them once and missing four shots on the other three possessions. The Heat cleaned it up with two turnovers in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Knicks finished with 19.
“The Knicks are a very hard nosed team, so nothing comes easy with them,” Richardson said. “I think the guys definitely took to heart what we did in practice the other day, going at each other a little bit and it definitely carried over last game and this game. I think it’s a testament to how well Spo has done with us.”
Where’s Whiteside? Hassan Whiteside played 23:22, finishing with 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, but the Heat’s $98 million man was removed with 4:01 remaining in the third quarter – after scoring 10 points in the quarter – and did not return. Spoelstra went with Bam Adebayo and James Johnson to open the fourth quarter before bringing back Kelly Olynyk while keeping Johnson on the floor. The two then finished the game, as Johnson played the final 21 minutes, 32:56 in all in his second game back after missed six of seven games with bursitis in his right ankle. Johnson missed all seven of his shots but made four big free throws.
“I’m not at all hesitant to put him back in there,” Spoelstra said of Whiteside. “I know he wanted to be in there. When they went small, that was the best lineup for us.”
Streaking: The Heat have taken advantage of the favorable schedule and, just as importantly, are starting to turn home court into real advantage. Now, Miami can make this a very successful stretch by closing out this portion of the schedule with one more home win Sunday against the struggling Utah Jazz, who entered Friday having lost 11-of-14 games. What follows is a very difficult stretch of seven road games in the next eight and 11-of-14 away from home.
“Even though we’re up (four) games over .500, we still think that we didn’t play well the first 30 games.” Dragic said. “You know, now you can see the season is turning around. But still, we can’t relax. We need to put a lot of work in and try to get on a higher level.”