Steve Javie officiated his first Heat game since the Riley
accused the referee of holding a grudge against him, but on Sunday
Riley didn't repeat his expletive-laced speech about officiating.
"I didn't give it that much thought. I was a little
surprised,'' said Riley, who didn't say anything to Javie during
the game, and didn't bite when asked to assess his performance
"For fifty thousand? You've got to be (kidding me),'' he said,
referencing the number of dollars he was fined for his Dec. 13
Malik Allen added 17 points and James scored 11 points in the
fourth quarter for the Heat, who won their third straight game for
the first time this season.
"It just opened up for me,'' James said. "I wish I could get
38 points as a career high, but I've got to be patient.''
Howard Eisley had 19 points and Kurt Thomas had 16 for the
Knicks, who fell apart after shooting 65 percent in the first
James gave the Heat the lead for good by banking a running
jumper in at the buzzer to end the third quarter, and scored twice
to start the fourth as Miami went on a 14-2 run.
New York missed open shots, fumbled passes and turned the ball
over, but cut the lead to 84-77 on Eisley's three free throws with
Caron Butler hit a jumper 20 seconds later, though, and Allen
hit an open jumper from the top of the key, and the Knicks never
got closer than seven.
Jones tied the game at 54 with 7:15 left in the third quarter,
and Butler's baseline hook gave the Heat a 60-58 lead, its first
since the first quarter.
"The energy and momentum just switched,'' New York's Allan
Houston said. "We were just inconsistent the whole game.''
Riley's accusations about referees centered on discrepancies in
free throws. Before Sunday's game, the Heat had shot 226 fewer free
throws than their opponents, including 21 less than the Knicks in
But the Heat shot 27 free throws to the Knicks' 14 on Sunday,
and played tough defense in the second half to hold off the Knicks.
"We weren't rotating and we were doubling (Latrell) Sprewell in
the post,'' Jones said. "In the second half, we made them drive to
the basket and contested their shots.''
With the rookie Butler guarding Sprewell, New York had frequent
open jumpers in the first quarter, and the Knicks hit them.
Eisley hit all three of his 3-pointers, including one with 19
seconds left that gave the Knicks a 31-23 lead.
Allan Houston even hit two 3-pointers with Eddie Jones right in
his face as New York hit 11 of 17 shots in the opening quarter.
Jones was 0-for-5 in the first period, but hit his first three
jumpers and had three free throws to start the second as Miami cut
the lead to 41-34.
"They wanted the game more than we did,'' Sprewell said,'' and
we can't have that, especially at home.''
Game notes Sprewell scored 14 points on just 5-of-14 shooting. ...
Allen started his second straight game after injuring his right
knee Wednesday at Boston. ... The Knicks were called for 21
personal fouls to Miami's 19. ... Javie called Allen for a foul on
the Knicks first possession. ... Riley had a few choice words on
two plays, once for Scott Wall and once for Mark Wunderlich, but
never yelled at Javie.