Heat defense limits Lin in 14-point win

February, 23, 2012
2/23/12
11:47
PM ET
By ESPN Stats & Information
ESPN.com
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Steve Mitchell/US PresswireMario Chalmers and the Heat defense kept Jeremy Lin in check during a 14-point win on Thursday.
Two of the hottest teams in the NBA met as the league prepared for the All-Star Break, with the home-standing Miami Heat claiming an easy victory over the New York Knicks.

The Knicks shot 39 percent from the field against the Heat, their lowest shooting percentage since Jeremy Lin took over as the starting point guard on Feb. 6. Lin was 1-for-11 from the field with eight points and three assists, his lowest totals when playing at least 20 minutes this season.

Lin was guarded by Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole for the majority of his offensive plays on Thursday. He was 0-for-5 and had six of his eight turnovers while being guarded by Miami’s two point guards and did not find more success against other defenders.

Lin wasn’t the only Knicks player who had trouble holding onto the basketball. Lin and Amar'e Stoudemire each had six turnovers in the first half, becoming the first pair of teammates with at least five turnovers before halftime this season. As a team, the Knicks 15 first-half turnovers tied the highest total in the league this season.

Unlike Lin’s previous games as a starter, the Knicks were more effective without Lin on the court against the Heat.

In his first 10 games as the starting point guard, the Knicks shot 48 percent and were +81 with him on the floor. On Thursday, the Knicks outscored the Heat by five points and shot a better percentage without its starting point guard.

The Knicks aren’t the only team that the Heat have beaten handily in the last two weeks. Miami has won its last eight games by double figures, the second-longest streak in franchise history. The Heat won nine straight in late 2010.

This isn’t the first time that LeBron James has been part of a team on a streak like this. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Heat are the first team to win eight straight games by at least 12 points since the LeBron-led Cleveland Cavaliers won nine straight in 2008.

For the first time this season, all three members of Miami’s Big Three finished with 20 or more points. Since the trio arrived in South Beach, the Heat are 19-3 when all three score at least 20 points.

During the streak, Chris Bosh has found his shooting stroke. Bosh was 7-for-10 from 10+ feet against the Knicks, and is shooting 75 percent from that range in his last three games. Entering Thursday’s game, he was shooting 43 percent from 10+ feet this season.

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