Work in Sports
Carter's heroics lift Heat in overtime
Posted: Saturday May 13, 2000 04:34 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Of all the crazy, controversial endings the Knicks and Heat have produced in the playoffs, this one was as wild as any of them.
Anthony Carter's incredible shot from behind the backboard with 2.2 seconds left -- a shot that didn't count until an offensive goaltending call was waved off -- gave Miami a 77-76 overtime victory over New York on Friday night.
As low-scoring and foul-plagued as the game was, it was one of the best ones the teams have produced in 20 postseason meetings. In the end, the fickle bounce of the ball and a rare reversal of a referee's call gave the Heat a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
"I thought it was a beautiful game, absolutely a beautiful game," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "If you want high-flying, high-scoring games, I don't think this is the series to come watch."
But for those who appreciate defense, drama and the unexpected, this was a classic.
Carter, playing the entire overtime as Tim Hardaway was ineffective, drove along the baseline and faced such a tough angle that he had to launch the ball over the top corner of the backboard. Rising 15 feet in the air, the shot hit the front rim, bounced high -- "It went to the top of the Garden ceiling up there," Riley said -- and fell through.
Referee Danny Crawford immediately waved the basket off, ruling that Alonzo Mourning had tipped the ball in, bringing Miami's coaching staff sprinting onto the floor.
"The only thing going through my head was please don't take my basket away, please," Carter said. "It was one of the biggest baskets of my career, and I'm glad one of the referees saw that Zo did not touch the ball."
The other referees pulled Crawford aside and told him he made the wrong call, and the basket counted.
"The ball was shot from behind the backboard, which should result in an out-of-bounds on the side," Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "Clear as day on the replay."
The officials said the shot was legal because the ball did not pass directly over the top of backboard, which is prohibited.
"It came over on an angle," Crawford said.
The Knicks had one last chance, but the inbounds pass was deflected away from Latrell Sprewell into Jamal Mashburn's hands as time expired.
It was one of the oddest endings to any of the playoff games between these teams, which is no small thing in a rivalry that has featured fights, suspensions and last-second bounces -- but never a shot quite like this one by Carter.
The rookie finished with 10 points, eight assists and seven rebounds to supplement 23 points from Mourning, 16 from Mashburn and 14 from P.J. Brown in the first overtime playoff game between the bitter rivals.
The loss was an excruciating one for the Knicks, especially Patrick Ewing, whose basket with 2.6 seconds left in regulation forced overtime. But with a chance to give New York a two-point lead with 13.7 seconds left, Ewing could only make one of two free throws.
"Very disappointing," Ewing said. "We were right there. We just fell short."
For the first four quarters, the defense was so tight and the offenses so flustered that it looked like it would be the lowest scoring playoff game in NBA history. The record for fewest combined points is 142.
It would have earned that distinction even if Mashburn had hit an open 20-footer at the buzzer in regulation, but he missed to send the game into an extra period tied at 68-68.
After Mashburn gave Miami a 71-70 lead on a 3-pointer, Allan Houston got away with a palming violation right before he shot a 24-footer with 3:04 left to give the Knicks a 73-71 edge.
Mashburn then missed a jumper, and Charlie Ward hit Marcus Camby with a bullet pass under the basket. Camby caught the ball and dunked it in one quick motion, putting the Knicks up by four with 2:14 left.
Carter answered with two free throws and Mourning hit a jumper to tie it at 75-75 with 1:17 left, and neither team could convert on its next possession as Ewing dribbled the ball off his foot and Majerle missed a long 3-pointer.
Majerle was called for a reach-in foul on Ewing with 13.7 seconds left, but Ewing could only make one of two.
Mourning, who led Miami with 15 points at halftime, picked up three fouls -- his second, third and fourth -- in a span of 26 seconds early in the third and left the game with 8:13 left.
Ward hit a jumper for a seven-point edge, but with the crowd begging the Knicks to pull away, the opposite happened. Houston missed two straight shots, Brown scored four straight points and Clarence Weatherspoon hit a jumper to put the Heat ahead 52-51.
The Knicks led 56-55 entering the fourth, but went 0-for-4 with four turnovers on their first eight possessions of the quarter, and a jumper by Brown gave Miami a 60-57 lead with seven minutes left.
Houston, who led the Knicks with 24 points, scored New York's next three baskets on jumpers, while Mourning scored four of Miami's next six to keep the Heat ahead by at least a point for the next four minutes. With Miami ahead 68-66, Houston missed a short jumper, Ward missed a 3-pointer after an offensive rebound and the Knicks grabbed another rebound and called timeout with 6.1 seconds left.
Houston, double-teamed 15 feet away, found Ewing wide open three feet behind at the free throw line. Ewing nailed the shot, tying the game at 68. Mashburn got an open look from the top of the key at the buzzer, but the shot was no good.
Notes: The crowd broke into a familiar anti-Riley chant early in the first quarter. Riley, his attention focused on the court, turned to assistant coach Stan Van Gundy and asked: "What are they chanting?" Van Gundy didn't sugarcoat his answer as he quoted the crowd's two-word phrase verbatim. ... Sprewell, usually the last to arrive for home games, showed up just 80 minutes before tipoff. Teammates Kurt Thomas and John Wallace arrived 20 minutes later.