NEW YORK – LeBron James scored 12 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter to lead defending NBA champion Miami past New York 99-93 on Sunday as the Heat matched its record win streak with a 14th victory in a row.
James also contributed 11 assists and seven rebounds and his steal and fast break slam dunk with 23 seconds remaining provided a final exclamation point for a Miami squad that lost twice to the Knicks already this season.
“We showed we can play with them,” James said. “We can play with anybody, the best in the East and the West.”
The Heat trailed by as much as 16 points in the first half and 59-45 at half-time before rallying to keep the Knicks to only 34 points in the second half – three fewer than New York managed in the second quarter alone.
“We had a lot of adversity but we were able to stick through the rough patches and get well-needed win on the road,” James said. “We came out with a sense of urgency going into the second half.”
The Heat matched the club record win streak, set in the 2004-05 season, and their current run is the second-longest win streak in the NBA this season to a 17-game win streak by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Dwyane Wade added 20 points for Miami while Chris Bosh contributed 16 for the Heat, 14 of them in the second half.
New York’s Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 32 points while J.R. Smith added 13 points and 12 rebounds and Jason Kidd scored 14 points.
The Heat improved to 43-14, the second-best record in the NBA trailing only San Antonio, while the Atlantic division-leading Knicks, who committed 18 turnovers, fell to 35-21.
Raymond Felton’s layup pulled the Knicks within 93-91 late in the fourth quarter but James answered with a layup and Bosh sank a jumper to boost Miami’s lead to 97-91.
Felton followed with two free throws but after the Knicks rebounded a James miss, he stole the ball and slammed in the final basket, closing a game-ending 14-6 Heat run to give Miami a sixth consecutive road triumph.
“We got stops and we made a couple shots. I guess that’s the equalizer to win in late-game situations,” James said. “You have got to make stops and get points offensively.”