Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Carmelo's 50 Light Up Heat

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Carmelo's 50 Light Up Heat

Article excerpt

MIAMI -- There was no LeBron James, no Dwyane Wade, not even Amar'e Stoudemire to punch a fire-extinguisher case. It was a Knicks and Heat match Tuesday night with a national television audience, but seemingly little reason to watch.

That was until Carmelo Anthony started shooting.

While the game may have carried little of the attraction as a rivalry, with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra earnestly insisting his stars really were too hurt to make it onto the court, Anthony turned the game into his personal showcase.

Anthony matched a career high with 50 points, providing the one bit of star power that remained in the matchup, as the Knicks beat the Heat, 102-90. Anthony became the first Knick to hit 50 since Jamal Crawford in January 2007.

Anthony did it with an efficient 18-for-26 shooting, making his statement in a game that did not allow the Knicks to make one as a team.

While the Knicks remain in need of a way to prove to themselves that the Eastern Conference title is not a fait accompli for the Heat, it wouldn't come in this final confrontation. Miami treated it like an exhibition game, keeping James, Wade and Mario Chalmers in street clothes.

Some of the Knicks were dubious of the decision, with Kenyon Martin quizzically asking reporters, "Did they get fined? That's the NBA." He was referring to Sunday, when Miami sat the trio against San Antonio, which some saw as a response to the Spurs' decision not to bring four starters to Miami earlier this season.

"Obviously, they're hurt," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said before the game. "I believe that. If he's holding them out for those reasons, then so be it. I can't worry about guys who aren't playing. I have to worry about the guys that are in uniform playing. [The Heat went] into San Antonio [Sunday] and they won without those three guys, so I'd say they're a pretty good basketball team."

The measuring stick would wait another day -- if the teams meet in the postseason. But for now, the Knicks still approached it as a game with a purpose, knowing that a win would provide them with their now 3-1 edge in the season series.

Any evidence needed that the Knicks were taking it seriously came when they returned Tyson Chandler to the starting lineup. …

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