The Miami Heat continue to have their issues, both recently in terms of getting stops when needed on the defensive end, and dealing with the continued trend of being unable to win close games.
Both came to the surface on Thursday in a 93-88 loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The Heat’s 1-8 mark in games decided by five points or fewer is the worst in the NBA.
After their 21-1 stretch in which they held opponents to an average of 90.5 points per game and 40.8 percent shooting from the field, the Heat are 1-5 in their last six games. They allowed only 93 points in this one, but yielded 29 of them in the fourth quarter.
The Knicks won despite shooting 36.1 percent from the floor. That was their third-worst shooting night of the season and by far their worst field goal percentage in a win. It was only the second time in the last 10 seasons that the Knicks won a game shooting that badly from the field. The last occurrence was April 6, 2008, in a 100-90 win over the Orlando Magic.
They won because of their 3-point shooting, 4-for-7 in the fourth quarter after going 6-for-26 in the first three. They also won because Dwyane Wade, who was 14-for-15 from the field in the first three quarters, was 0-for-7 in the fourth quarter.
Wade is not usually the one at fault in these close games. He entered Thursday shooting 13-for-24 in the last five minutes of the six close losses (five points or less) in which he played. But Thursday, he was 0-for-4 from the field.
Wade was the first visiting player at Madison Square Garden to make at least 10 straight field goal attempts since Nenad Krstic made 11 straight field goals for the New Jersey Nets on February 24, 2006. Krstic finished that game a perfect 11-for-11 from the field.
LeBron James, who has struggled late in close games that the Heat have lost, was 3-for-3 in the final five minutes of this one, but it wasn’t enough to extend his personal 10-game win streak against the Knicks.