Things were tense in this one from the start. It was a little sloppy, but full of excitement.
Despite his off season insistence on dropping his talcum powder ritual, LeBron changes his mind at the last minute. Due to the revised orientation of new MSG seating bowl, talcum gets in the eyes of several longtime Knicks season ticket holders, including Woody Allen. Amar'e, who, as part of his immersion into Jewish culture, spent part of the lockout familiarizing himself with Mr. Allen's film's, took offense and a shoving match ensued. Luckily, the two teams avoided coming to blows but Lebron emerged from the scrum with a sprained thumb, and Andy Rautins got a little hot at Dwayne Wade after Wade accused him of being related to David Stern.
Bosh won the tip and tipped it to Wade, who was immediately stripped of the ball by Chauncey. Chauncey flipped it ahead to Landry, who laid the ball in while being fouled by one of those other guys on the team, I think it was Henry Bibby's son. Anyways, Landry missed the foul shot but rebounded his miss and scored, and was fouled again. This kept happening until Bibby fouled out and the Knicks were up 13-0. During the ensuing time out, Landry got down on himself for starting the season 0-5 from the charity stripe. Balkman rushed over to give him a hug, but tripped over Chauncey and reinjured his knee, and then brushed up against Turiaf and both those guys went to the training room for precautionary reasons. The teams played pretty evenly the rest of the 1st quarter with Toney Douglas doing what he do, which is run the point not particularly well.
Knicks 35, Heat 25
The Heat start out with a bang, by executing 10 straight full court alley oops. Carmelo hangs his head and is yanked by D'antoni. He is replaced by Shump as Landry moves over to the 3. A lineup of TD, Shump, Landry, Amar'e and the surprising Jerome Jordan keeps pace with the Heat for most of the rest of the quarter by running pick and rolls with Shump and Amar'e, until TD tires and turns the ball over a couple of times. He's taken out and Carmelo comes back in, putting Shump at the point. Chaos ensues and the Heat go up by 15 and threaten to blow the game wide open. D'antoni calls time out and animatedly discusses something with Carmelo, who still looks pissed. D'antoni also looks pissed, and calls Andy Rautins and Jorts Harrelson off the bench. With a lineup of Rautins, Shump, Carmelo, Jorts, and Jerome Jordan, it looks like the Knicks are conceding the game. But the Knicks go crazy. Carmelo scores from everywhere. The offense flows. Rautins hits 3 straight bombs. Harrelson punches Bosh in the face without being called for a foul. Shumpty blocks LeBron twice in the span of 30 seconds. Jerome Jordan gets not one but two rebounds. The Knicks score 15 points in the final 3 minutes of the half to get within one at halftime.
Heat 60, Knicks 59
Right before tipoff, the Garden crowd is sent into a frenzy as Ronny Turiaf emerges from the locker room to take his place in the starting lineup. Sadly, Chauncey cannot go, but D'antoni sticks with the hot hand Rautins and he doesn't disappoint, feeding Turiaf for two jumpers to open the half and give the Knicks the lead. They will be the only 4 points Ronny will score, but the damage is done. With a guard rotation of Rautins, TD, and Shump, Carmelo and Landry handling the 3, Amar'e and Jorts switching off at the 4, and the heroic Turiaf spelling the Jamaican Sensation, the Knicks go toe to toe with the Heat, suffocating them with defense and slowly build a 10 point lead. Sadly, in the last minute, the Heat once again start pulling off consecutive full court alley-oops. After the 5th one, Harrellson mercifully puts an end to it by punching LeBron in the face. Sadly, he's called for a technical and, when he argues, is thrown out of the game. As he leaves the court, he strips off his uniform shorts to reveal Jorts underneath. The crowd goes into a frenzy, and LeBron misses the technical, his shot soaring 4 feet to the left of the backboard.
Knicks 80, Heat 80
The Heat run off 15 straight points, 10 by Bosh, to start the quarter, quieting the crowd. They celebrate wildly at mid court, doing the macarena, until Coach Spo goes out there and, after a lengthy discussion and a tech, manages to convince LeBron and Wade to look somber and professional. Bosh is red hot, but LeBron can't take it and decides it's time to show the world how great a post player he's become. He scores 10 straight in the post, but Carmelo and Amar'e match him shot for shot. LeBron picks up his 5th foul trying in vain to stop Carmelo and takes a rest. Wade takes over the scoring load, scoring three straight baskets, but Rautins answers him everytime with straightaway 3 point bombs, the last one coming from 40 feet. The Heat call timeout and the Knicks crowd is back in the game. Coming out of the timeout, LeBron feels that the world still hasn't quite got the jist of his newfound post dominance, and demands the ball in the post. He misses two shots, then hits one, then, with Amar'e guarding him, he gets called for an offensive foul and fouls out with the Heat clinging to a 115-110 lead with 2 minutes to go. Amar'e hits the foul shots and it's 115-112.
Wade scores on a runner to make it 117-112 and is fouled by Shump. Shump looks sad, but Bill Walker makes a key play by tripping Humpty as he attempts to rush onto the court to embrace Shump. Wade hits the foul shot to extend the lead to 6 with 1:40 left. On the next play, Carmelo finds Shump for the alley-oop. 118-114, 1:28 remain. TD intercepts Wade's lazy pass and feeds Amar'e for another thunderous dunk, and it's 118-116 with 1:12 to go. After a Heat timeout, Bosh demands the ball and shoots, but misses. Carmelo gets the rebound and feeds Shump, but Shump tries an ill-advised pass and it's stolen by Wade who goes the distance and is fouled by Shump. Hey, he's a rookie. After Wade misses the foul shot, Bosh rebounds, but blows the dunk. The Knicks grab the rebound and call timeout, trailing 120-116 with :56 to go. Out of the timeout, the Knicks go with Rautins, TD, Landry, Melo, and Amar'e. Rautins runs the P&R with Amar'e, firing a bullet to him that he almost loses, then throws up at the backboard. Landry comes out of nowhere to rebound the miss and fire the ball to Carmelo who drains a 3 to bring the Knicks within 1 with :38 to go. The Heat surprise by sprinting up the court without a timeout, but Wade is unsettled by Toney Douglas' healed shoulder doing what Toney Douglas' healed shoulder do, and takes an off balance shot that airballs and is collected by Amar'e, who feeds Toney, who outruns a complaining Wade and weaves through the Heat defense for a layup to give the Knicks the their first lead of the fourth quarter at 121-120. The Heat call time out.
Out of the time out, Bosh gets the ball but is double teamed by Amar'e and Carmelo. Wade is draped by TD, so Bosh attempts to pass but the ball is knocked away. After a scrum, Joel Anthony ends up with the ball and hits a little shot over Landry Fields as he elbows Landry. The officials ignore this obvious offensive foul and the Heat take the lead with one second to go and another wild celebration ensues by the Heat at center court. The game is delayed while the Garden crew mops up the champagne on the floor. Finally, the Knicks are able to inbound, and with the Heat double teaming Rautins and Carmelo, Amar'e calmly hits a three pointer off the inbounds pass to win the game.
Knicks 124 Heat 122
Well, what can I say? It was a little sloppy, but a W's a W, you know?