Best was the only Miami starter not to score in double figures
on Wednesday night, but he scored the last five points of the game
to give the Heat an 82-80 win over the New York Knicks.
Best finished with 9 points and 10 assists and Eddie Jones
scored 22 points after shooting 7-for-11 from the floor for the
Heat, who avoided another fourth-quarter collapse.
"The guys really needed this. We lost the last two in the last
minute and a half," Heat coach Pat Riley said of close losses to
Indiana and Philadelphia. "We found enough guts and poise at the
end to win it."
Best hit a 3-pointer with 40.1 seconds left to tie the game at
80, and after Kurt Thomas was called for an offensive foul on the
Knicks' next possession, Best hit a running jumper to give the Heat
the lead with 4.5 seconds left.
"I tried to take as much time as possible so (New York)
wouldn't have much time left," Best said of the winning shot.
"When I saw the opening I just went."
Thomas then missed a 17-foot jumper at the buzzer.
"I thought I was there to make it tough on him, but he found a
way to put it in the hole," Thomas said of Best's final shot.
Latrell Sprewell scored 28 points in the loss, helping the
Knicks come back from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter.
Allan Houston, who struggled throughout the game, scored 9 of
his 21 points in the fourth quarter for New York, but was only
7-for-19 from the floor overall. Howard Eisley _ who came into the
game averaging 7.9 points a game -- added 18, one short of his
Down 6 points with 1:14 remaining, rarely used reserve LaPhonso
Ellis hit an open 3-pointer.
Ellis said he was planning on driving to the basket, ``but then
I saw (Clarence) Weatherspoon drop his hands and back off a bit, so
I let it fly.''
Knicks coach Don Chaney attributed the Knicks' loss to giving up
"I knew the only way for the Heat to get back in the game was
with 3s," he said. "They got the 3s."
At least one Knicks player blamed that on New York's lack of
"I just think we were a little confused on those last two
plays. There was a lack of communication and we just got burnt,"
said Houston. "That's why defense is so important, so we can
defend that 4- to 6-point lead."
Miami's Brian Grant was ejected from the game with 4:41
remaining in the game after receiving a double technical for
arguing with referees.
The Heat scored 30 points in the paint to the Knicks 12.
The Knicks are 2-8 in the second game of back-to-back games
and are 5-13 on the road. They are 14-12 at home. ... Caron Butler
missed practice and underwent an MRI Tuesday after being kneed by
Ron Artest in Monday's loss to Indiana. Artest was suspended four
games for his behavior in that game. Butler's MRI came back
negative, and he started against the Knicks. ... This was the final
meeting between the Heat and Knicks, with each team winning two