The bright sunshine in New York City was shining on Madison Square Garden as the Miami Heat faced the New York Knicks in a clash of the East titans. Miami’s Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have all thrived at The Garden, averaging over 20 points apiece during their careers. At the midway point of their 27-game winning streak there was one team that really wanted to put an end to the Heat’s winning ways. On March 3, the Knicks were in position to make the world champs notice that they are a force in the East before it all came crashing down in the No. 3 Most Memorable Game of the 2012-13 season.
New York had the number of the defending champs in two previous meeting including a pair of 20-point blowouts, one at The Garden early in the season and another at AmericanAirlines Arena without their star Carmelo Anthony who missed that game due to injury.
Anthony was fired up for this game and it showed by his 17 point performance in the first quarter. The Knicks All-Star forward was hitting jumpers from various spots on the floor as he helped his team stay in the game. Wade connected with James for two alley-oop dunks in the first to get the crowd on their feet. It was a 23-22 ballgame after one quarter.
Knicks guard Jason Kidd led the charge in the second quarter connecting on four 3-pointers as the Knicks used a collective effort to stretch the lead to 14. Anthony would have an injury scare that sent him to the locker room before the half but returned after intermission. But that didn’t stop the team from keeping the pressure on the Heat. The Knicks ended the first half on a 17-5 run that was capped off by a difficult driving layup by J. R. Smith to make it a 58-43 lead.
"The Big Three" did not want to continue the message they were receiving from the Knicks and went to work in the second half.
James, Wade and Bosh scored 23 of the Heat’s 28 points in the third quarter. Bosh hit a jumper to start the quarter and then the sense of urgency picked up when Wade missed a layup in transition and James was there for the putback slam dunk to cut the deficit to single digits just two minutes into the second half.
The Knicks continued to press on defense but they could not find a rhythm on offense until Miami started to make a comeback. After the Heat cut the Knicks lead to 65-59, Anthony got a steal and finished on the other end with a layup. Moments later, another steal would lead to Kidd finding Smith for 3-pointer to put New York back up by double digits, 70-59.
Just when the Knicks thought they had the Heat where they wanted in the third quarter, James linked up with Shane Battier for a three to bring them to within 77-73 going into the fourth quarter. Despite the careless turnovers, Miami outscored New York 28-18 in the quarter.
James was on a mission to get his team a victory on that Sunday afternoon. He drained a shot from 3-point range to tie the game at 79 with 10 minutes left in regulation. The teams would play the seesaw in the final quarter, as neither team wanted to take over the game. Kidd connected with Smith again on a 3-pointer at the half way point making it a 87-85 Knicks lead.
Wade got the team a much needed hook shot at the 4:28 mark to put the Heat up 89-87 for good. The Knicks tried to keep it close enough for a chance to win it at the end for the home crowd. But, James had a victory for the team on his mind. With 25 seconds left, he intercepted Smith’s inbound pass and cruised to the other end for a rim rattling dunk to seal the deal on a 99-93 Heat win. The Big Three scored all but one basket in the fourth quarter and 46 of team 's last 54 points.
Behind its three superstars, the Miami Heat reached 14 straight wins and tied a franchise record for most consecutive wins.
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