'I think we quit'
Miami wilts before New York's 32-2 outburst
Posted: Thursday May 13, 1999 08:25 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- If it was a prize fight, they'd have stopped it in the third quarter.
The New York Knicks unleashed one of the most dominant flurries imaginable Wednesday night, using an incredible 32-2 run to take control of the game -- and their first-round series -- in defeating the frustrated Miami Heat 97-73.
"We took a hit, and I think we quit on the game," Miami's Dan Majerle said.
The game was the most confrontational of the three so far, but the only physical altercation came when Alonzo Mourning shoved teammate Tim Hardaway toward the locker room after Hardaway was ejected with 8:45 left and the outcome already certain.
The victory gave the Knicks a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series and left Miami on the brink of first-round elimination at New York's hands for the second straight season.
If the Heat have any fight left, they'll need it Friday to save their season and avoid becoming just the second top-seeded team in NBA history to lose to a No. 8 seed.
"The series is not over yet. It's far from being over," Mourning said. "If you remember, last year we were up 2-1 [against New York]. So it's far from being over."
And despite being outrebounded 16-6 in the first quarter, New York finished with a 43-35 advantage on the boards.
Hardaway scored just five points for the Heat, shooting 1-for-8 before official Mike Mathis tossed him for refusing to stop confronting Knicks point guard Chris Childs and then continuing to argue.
"I'm not talking. If I talk, I'll get fined," was Hardaway's only postgame comment.
Mourning did almost nothing after the first quarter and finished with 18 points, while Majerle shot 0-for-5 and did not score and P.J. Brown was 2-for-9.
Game 4 is Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
"Everybody always builds you up when you play well, which we did in Game 1," Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "Tear you down after Game 2, build you up after Game 3. What we have to do is stay even keel."
After Miami took a 37-33 lead midway through the second quarter, the game turned so thoroughly it left everyone stunned. The Knicks scored the last 12 points of the second quarter and the first seven of the third to make it 52-37 before Miami finally ended a seven-minute scoring drought. But that wasn't the end of it.
"What was alarming to me was how quick it happened," Heat coach Pat Riley said.
Next came a 13-0 run, ending with a jumper by Houston to make it 65-39 and causing Hardaway to angrily fling the ball in different directions -- toward the seats, off the backboard, away from the refs -- on three separate occasions.
Clearly, Hardaway was losing his cool. But on this night, he wasn't alone.
Right from the start it seemed something was amiss with Mourning. He was short on his first three free throws, got yelled at by Riley for failing to spring back on defense and he nearly drew a technical foul for ripping off his goggles and yelling at Mathis after being whistled for his third foul.
By the fourth quarter, Mourning was battling viciously with Chris Dudley in the paint and trying to set hard picks on old nemesis Larry Johnson, building up a charged atmosphere that didn't lighten until Hardaway's ejection for consecutive technicals.
"I was just trying to get Timmy away from the confusion because we needed Timmy in the game," Mourning said. "I was telling Mike I had him away. I mean he can still talk, it's not like he was going to do any bodily harm. He didn't have to give him another tech.
"I thought Mike was wrong -- he was kind of quick to do that, but it wasn't the deciding factor in the game. We just got our butts kicked," Mourning said.
After that, the Knicks went on to lead by as many as 30 as they gained their second lopsided victory of the series.
Despite the playoff buzz coursing through the building at the opening tipoff, it was Miami that got off to a fast start. The Heat pounded the ball inside to their big men early on, and Mourning, P.J. Brown and Jamal Mashburn combined for 23 of Miami's 25 points in a first quarter that ended with the Heat ahead 25-20.
Ewing tied the game at 37 on a turnaround jumper and Sprewell hit a 3-pointer to make it 40-37. The crowd got revved up as three Knicks hit the floor chasing a loose ball, leading to a foul and two free throws by Childs that upped the lead to 43-37.
Houston scored on a drive with 1.6 second left in the first half to give New York a 45-37 lead at intermission, and Mourning went to the bench with his fourth foul less than two minutes into the third quarter.
By the time he returned, the Heat had no chance. New York went ahead 76-49 on a 3-pointer by Johnson early in the fourth, and the coaches started emptying their benches with more than five minutes left.
Notes: Former Knicks John Starks attended the game and got a rousing ovation when he was shown on the center scoreboard. ... Others in the crowd included NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Russ Granik and league vice president of operations Rod Thorn. ... ... Miami is 3-22 at Madison Square Garden. ... Ewing and Chris Dudley also drew technical fouls for arguing.
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