Knicks beat elite Heat, start to find rhythm

The Associated PressJanuary 10, 2014 

The Knicks’ Andrea Bargnani (77), who scored 19 points, drives past LeBron James (6) in New York’s win over Miami on Thursday.

BRAD PENNER/USA TODAY SPORTS

NEW YORK — They don’t look like the lowly losers of last month. The New York Knicks are playing as if it’s last season — when they even had mighty Miami’s number.

Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points, Andrea Bargnani had 19, and the Knicks defeated the Heat, 102-92, on Thursday night for their season-high third consecutive victory.

“You can tell it’s different than one month ago,” Bargnani said. “Our faces are different. Our body language is different.”

Raymond Felton had 13 points and 14 assists for the Knicks, who seized control with a 16-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters. They beat the Heat for the fourth time in five meetings over the past two seasons.

New York was second to Miami in the Eastern Conference last season when it won the series, 3-1, but there was little reason to suggest until recently the Knicks were ready to compete with the NBA champion this season. New York is 13-22 but has won four of five in 2014, with victories over San Antonio and Miami — last season’s NBA finalists.

“It wasn’t going to last all season like that,” Felton said. “We were just going through a slump. Now I feel like we’re out of it.”

With Tyson Chandler out sick and J.R. Smith stuck on the bench as an apparent punishment, Amar’e Stoudemire finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

LeBron James scored 32 points for the Heat, which played without injured starters Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier. Chris Bosh was held to six points on 3-of-10 shooting.

“All I know about this game is they outplayed us, and they earned that win,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Dwyane Wade scored 23 points but missed all six free throws after sitting out the morning shootaround as Miami’s three-game winning streak ended.

SLAM DUNKS

Curry surges in All-Star voting: Stephen Curry, an NBA All-Star snub last season, is in position to start this year’s game.

The Warriors sharpshooter moved past Clippers star Chris Paul into second place among Western Conference guards Thursday when the third set of returns of fan balloting was released.

With 677,372 votes, Curry trails injured Lakers star Kobe Bryant (844,538) but is about 26,000 votes ahead of Paul, who’s also sidelined. Voting runs through Jan. 20, and the starters for the Feb. 16 game in New Orleans will be announced Jan. 23. Heat forward LeBron James leads all players with 1.076 million votes.

Curry wasn’t chosen last season despite averaging 20.9 points at the time of the selections. Paul was voted the MVP of the West’s victory in Houston.

Bledsoe faces surgery: A person with knowledge of the situation says Suns guard Eric Bledsoe will have surgery on his right knee and will be sidelined indefinitely. The person asked not to be identified because the Suns have not officially revealed that surgery is planned for Bledsoe, who is averaging 18 points and 5.8 assists in his first season with the Suns. He has missed the past four games because of what had been described as a sprained knee.

Fastbreaks: Knicks center Tyson Chandler did not play against the Heat because of an upper respiratory infection. … Former Bulls forward Luol Deng will make his Cavaliers debut Friday at Utah.

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