Heat coach Erik Spoelstra knew better than to ask. But this was LeBron James, who is sort of important to Miami’s overall plan. So Spoelstra inquired about LeBron’s health after James hit the deck, twisting his left knee in the third quarter. “I don’t even know why I asked. He said, ‘I’m fine, Coach. Don’t even think of taking me out,’ ” Spoelstra said, noting how James played the entire second half, including the fourth quarter when he made play after play. “He had to do it on both ends, couldn’t get him out in the fourth quarter,” Spoelstra said, “ and if I would have tried, he probably would have strangled me.” Instead he strangled the Knicks. In that fourth quarter, James scored 12 points to Carmelo Anthony’s four, grabbed five rebounds, passed for three assists, blocked a shot, made a steal. Anthony’s only other stat in the fourth was one turnover as Miami made every effort possible to keep the ball out of his hands. James (29 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists) was a two-way force, and seemed most pumped over Miami’s defense. “That’s usually how we win games, tight games. We get stops, we get shots,” said James. He admitted he was “concerned” after that third-quarter awkward landing — but he got up and immediately hit a jumper to end the worry. James, who earlier made a critical block on Tyson Chandler, applied the dagger with a steal to snuff the ever-so-dim hopes of the Knicks as he swiped a J.R. Smith pass and went in for a slam with 23.6 seconds left for the final 99-93 score.
LeBron’s work in crunch busts the Knicks’ bubble
New York Post | Mar 4