Knicks whip hapless Heat, take 1-0 series lead
Posted: Saturday May 08, 1999 05:32 PM
MIAMI (AP) -- No brawls. No violence. No contest.
There was none of the punch-throwing that marked previous playoff series between the teams, although Miami's P.J. Brown was ejected when he argued with an official following a minor skirmish with Chris Childs. Otherwise the top-seeded Heat went down without a fight against the team that upset them in the opening round last year.
"You have to play with confidence in the playoffs," Houston said. "It just so happens we play with a lot of confidence against Miami."
The loss puts the Heat in a daunting position, because now they must win at least one game at Madison Square Garden, where they're 3-21 in regular-season games. Game 2 will be Monday in Miami before the series shifts to New York.
"Today's loss was as complete as it can be," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "There can't be any lingering from this, other than the emotion you felt during the butt-kicking, and how that's going to translate into Monday night."
The Heat shot 35 percent in their most lopsided loss since the 1997 playoffs against Chicago. Alonzo Mourning had 27 points, but the other starters shot 11-for-45 (24 percent). Tim Hardaway went 4-for-19 and scored just 10 points.
"I missed five or 10 open shots, and my teammates had open shots," Hardaway said. "When you do that, and they come down and hit shots, it's tough. But we're men. We understand what went on. We've just got to come back."
Patrick Ewing had 15 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Knicks, and their bench outscored Miami's 21-2 in the first three periods.
"This is just one game," Ewing said. "You can't let your emotions get too overwhelmed."
At the encouragement of Heat management, most of the fans showed up wearing red, which made Miami Arena look like a University of Nebraska football game. But by the fourth quarter, a section of the crowd was chanting "Let's go Knicks."
The Heat's frustration boiled over with 7:48 left when Brown swung a forearm in Childs' face. Although there was little or no contact, Brown received a technical foul, and when he argued about the call, he received another technical from referee Steve Javie, meaning an automatic ejection.
"It's bull, as usual," Brown said. "I said a couple of other words he didn't like, so he threw me out."
Miami was the opponent eighth-seeded New York wanted in the first round, and the Knicks played confidently from the start. Houston went 5-for-5 in the Knicks' 28-point opening quarter, and Sprewell scored 13 points in the second period to help them take a 48-31 halftime lead.
"We just got on one of those rolls," said Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, who may need to win the series to keep his job. "Miami missed a lot of good, open shots that they usually make. We just had a good day."
New York missed eight consecutive shots during one stretch in the third quarter, but the Heat couldn't mount much of a challenge. They closed to 62-52, but a three-point play by Ewing and a 3-pointer by Larry Johnson helped New York to a 70-52 cushion.
The Heat went without a basket in the first six minutes of the final period, and an 11-0 Knicks run made the score 85-55.
"The Heat," Hardaway said, "always bring the best out of the Knicks."
Notes: Mourning, guarded much of the game by Kurt Thomas, found himself matched one-on-one with Ewing briefly midway through the first half and juked past his fellow Georgetown alum for three consecutive baskets. ... The VIP section near the Heat bench included Don Shula and Jimmy Buffett. ... Riley's Heat have advanced out of the first round just once in four years. ... Counting a game last month, New York has outscored Miami by 38 points in the past five quarters at Miami Arena.
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