By the time these teams possibly meet in the opening round of the playoffs, the deck will be reshuffled, with the New York Knicks to have Amare Stoudemire back, and possibly Jeremy Lin, as well.

The lesson Sunday, though, was that three of a kind beats ace high every time.

So even with Carmelo Anthony scoring 42 points, the most against the Miami Heat this season, the Heat still finally were able to secure a coveted road victory with a 93-85 decision at Madison Square Garden.

"It was a good test for us. It was all about perseverance," power forward Chris Bosh said. "Hopefully this will give us some momentum."