Miami. The Miami Heat moved into the second round of the NBA playoffs with a 106-94 win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday that completed a 4-1 series victory.
LeBron James had 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade both scored 19 points for the Heat, who progressed to a second-round series against the Indiana Pacers, starting in Miami on Sunday.
“We will savor this win tonight,” James said. “And then we get to work tomorrow and get ready for Indiana.”
Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points for the Knicks, but it wasn’t enough and the man chosen two spots behind James and immediately ahead of Bosh and Wade in the 2003 NBA draft has now won just two of 11 postseason series.
New York’s Amare Stoudemire scored 14 points before fouling out, Landry Fields and J.R. Smith both scored 12 and Tyson Chandler grabbed 11 rebounds.
The Knicks cut the margin to 11 points four times in a 2-minute span, and Miami answered every time, the last of those a 3-pointer by Shane Battier with 54 seconds left.
That sent the white seat covers flying in all corners of the arena, the fans knowing it was finally over.
The first gameday salvo came eight hours before tipoff, when Wade sent a verbal jab toward former teammate Mike Bibby.
“I know Mike has made more shots in this series than he made all last year. I know that. Send that to Mike,” Wade said.
Bibby averaged 0.5 points in first-quarter appearances this season, but he scored eight in the opening minutes Wednesday as the visitors jumped out to a 14-8 lead.
It was one of New York’s few moments to enjoy. James had 13 points on only six field-goal attempts by halftime, Wade shook off a scoreless first quarter with 12 in the second, and Miami went into the break leading 55-44.
The margin was less than 10 points for only 90 seconds of the third quarter. Stoudemire went to the bench with his fifth foul with 6:41 left in the third, and Miami went on an 11-2 spurt not long after that all but sealed the outcome.
In Memphis, the hosts avoided elimination by beating Los Angeles 92-80 and cutting the series deficit to 3-2.
Marc Gasol scored 23 points and Zach Randolph added 19 for the Grizzlies, who looked more like the team that knocked off top-seeded San Antonio last season and took Oklahoma City to seven games in the conference semifinals.
Game 6 is Friday in Los Angeles. If the Grizzlies can win, Game 7 would be Sunday in Memphis.
Rudy Gay added 14 points for Memphis.
Mo Williams had 20 points for the Clippers while Chris Paul scored 19 and Blake Griffin had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Paul and Griffin both missed time in the fourth quarter with injuries: Paul strained a groin muscle and appeared to jam a finger while Griffin hyperextended his left knee.
Paul, the four-time All-Star guard, had just five points by halftime and scored nothing in this fourth quarter. An injured groin kept him out of the Clippers’ regular season finale, a loss to New York that cost Los Angeles the No. 4 seed.
The Clippers are chasing their first series victory since 2006 and a second-round series against top-seeded San Antonio. But even though Paul has plenty of postseason experience, this was the first close-out game for the likes of Griffin, Randy Foye and DeAndre Jordan.
Memphis led from late in the first quarter. The Clippers closed the third quarter with a 14-2 run and got within six twice to conjure up memories of Memphis blowing a 27-point lead in Game 1. It was six points the difference with 55.7 seconds left but with their stars injured, that was as close as the vistitors got.
The Grizzlies outscored Los Angeles 48-26 in the key and had a 42-35 edge in rebounds.