Then came those other six minutes.
“It was all a blur,” Anthony said. “I can’t even — I don’t even know — I don’t even know what happened. It just happened so fast.”
Turnovers happened. Poor shooting happened. Miami’s defense happened. happened.
It took the most of the afternoon to establish their credentials, and just a handful of plays for the Heat to shred them in that served as a bold reminder of the gap between the franchises.
Anthony had 42 points, the most a player has scored against Miami this season. But the Heat still have more talent, better balance and better precision, and they employed all of it as James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 73 points and 33 rebounds.
The loss dropped the Knicks (31-29) back into , and momentarily moved them away from a first-round playoff matchup with the Heat (42-17).
Miami held an 81-80 lead with 6 minutes 3 seconds to play, then scored 6 consecutive points while the Knicks sputtered. The Heat closed the game on a 12-5 kick, ending the Knicks’ home winning streak at nine games and sweeping the season series, 3-0.
“I think the difference right now is that they’re a little more complete as a unit than we are,” Baron Davis said. “And we’re still working on that.”
The Knicks were missing Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, but they were also missing any sense of cohesion or purpose Sunday as their offense frequently stagnated. They looked disoriented down the stretch, resulting in three turnovers and 2-of-7 shooting in the final 5:31. Anthony took five of those shots — three from the arc — and made just one.
Coach Mike Woodson, who lost for the first time at home, rejected the suggestion that the Knicks became too reliant on Anthony. But he did lament the stagnant play, saying, “When the game’s on the line like that, you’ve got to get some movement, and we didn’t do that.”
Anthony shot 14 of 27 from the field and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the gamelong duel with James, his close friend. James (29 points) simply had more help — 28 points and 9 rebounds from Wade, and 16 points and 14 rebounds from Bosh.
J. R. Smith was the only other Knick to score in double figures, with 16 points — and he needed 15 shots to do it.
Anthony and Smith took 12 of the Knicks’ 18 shots in the final quarter, and made three. Between them, they had one assist in the quarter.
“Even when I was out of the game, we didn’t have any flow,” Anthony said, adding, “This is the first time in a long time that I’ve seen that in our offense.”
Few other Knicks had much of a chance to shoot, and they rarely connected when they did. Landry Fields, Davis and Iman Shumpert were a combined 4 for 18 from the field.
Tyson Chandler, the Knicks’ defensive anchor, also had a tough time making an impact on the game after he banged knees with Joel Anthony on a third-quarter drive. Chandler returned to play eight minutes in the fourth quarter but finished with a modest line: 9 points, 5 rebounds and no blocked shots.
“I really couldn’t move,” Chandler said. “I didn’t have too much strength in it. Moving laterally and trying to get up on the ball screens was difficult.”
Chandler said that he would not need any tests and that he planned to play Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics.
The Knicks tried their best to knock James off kilter, with tough defense and hard fouls. He was hit in the head at least twice — by Jared Jeffries in the second quarter and by Chandler in the third. The contact by Chandler earned him a first-degree flagrant foul. James made both free throws, extending Miami’s lead to 67-58.
Chandler was injured on the Knicks’ next possession, when he banged his left knee into Joel Anthony on a drive to the basket. Chandler missed both of his free throws, but he leapt high to grab the rebound on the second miss, leading to a Smith 3-pointer.
The Knicks seem destined to draw Chicago or Miami in the playoffs, and they seem confident despite losing the season series to both teams.
“We feel very confident going against anybody right now, regardless of who it is,” Carmelo Anthony said. “Our confidence is sky high. We’ll learn from this game and get better.”
The Knicks lost at the Garden for the first time since March 11, a . The nine-game home winning streak was their longest since a 10-game streak in 1997-98. … Knicks Coach Mike Woodson said that there was no plan yet to activate Amar’e Stoudemire this week. Stoudemire, who has been out for nearly three weeks because of a bulging disk in his back, played 4 on 4 on Saturday for the first time. Woodson said he was awaiting word from the medical staff. “Until they tell me he’s a go, then it’s nothing right now,” Woodson said. … Jared Jeffries took three stitches in his chin at halftime. … Until Sunday, the most points the Heat had allowed a player was 34, by Chicago’s Derrick Rose.