NEW YORK — Dwyane Wade said it felt like 50 minutes instead of the 32 he played in his return to the Miami Heat in an 86-79 win over the New York Knicks Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
The All-Star guard poured in a season-best 27 points in his first game back since suffering a hamstring injury seven games ago. Without the Wade in the lineup, Miami (8-8) was 3-4.
Wade was 11-of-18 with five assists. He scored 13 of Miami’s 23 fourth-quarter points.
“It felt like a lot more minutes, maybe 50,” replied Wade when told about how long he was on the floor. “But it was right in my wheelhouse. I didn’t feel great at all. I had a spurt where I felt great. It took me awhile to get my timing and my legs back.”
Forward Carmelo Anthony returned to the Knicks (4-14) after missing the last two games with back spasms. He scored 31 points and forward Amar’e Stoudemire added 19 points and 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
New York failed to score 80 points for the second straight game. It lost to Oklahoma City, 105-78, on Friday. The Knicks, who are 2-8 in their last 10 games, haven’t scored 100 points in 14 of their 18 games this season.
Heat center Chris Bosh’s 3-pointer made it 82-77 with 1:07 remaining. Stoudemire’s tip-in had brought the Knicks to within 79-77 moments before.
“There is no question we feel more confident when we put it in Dwyane’s (Wade) or CB’s (Chris Bosh) hands,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “It was good to have Dwyane out there. He said I played him too many minutes … welcome back.
“It’s not like he (Wade) was sitting on the sidelines idle. It’s very painful to do all the conditioning behind the scenes. Guys want to rush back so they don’t have to do all that conditioning. He (Wade) had three practices, plus all the conditioning, allows an athlete to come in and play off his instincts like he (Wade) did.
“I tried to keep him in that wheelhouse of 30 to 32 (minutes). He was playing his game and it did settle us. He let the game come to him.”
Bosh scored 20 points and forward Luol Deng accumulated 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Wade went on a tear in the fourth quarter. He scored 10 of Miami’s 12 points for a 79-69 cushion with 3:22 left in the game.
“That’s the only quarter where I can be selfish,” he said with a smile.
With Miami leading 65-63 and 9:22 to play, the Knicks had several chances to tie it, but guard Tim Hardaway Jr., center Samuel Dalembert and guard Shane Larkin all missed baskets 1:30 apart.
“Tonight we put ourselves in a position to possibly win the game,” said Knicks coach Derek Fisher. “We didn’t make enough plays on the offensive and defensive ends.
“There were some good opportunities throughout the game, but we didn’t convert on them. In this league, if you give yourself a chance, that’s all you can ask.
“I think because of our struggles guys are trying really hard. To perform at an elite level there has to be a level of relaxation, poise and comfort when you are out there on the floor so you are fluid with your motion.”
Anthony scored 10 points in the third quarter when the Knicks closed to within 63-59. New York went on an 11-3 run at the end of the quarter to cut the Heat lead down to four points.
Anthony thought it was doubtful he would return against Miami due to his ailing back.
“I saw that I could run and take a little bit of a beating in some of my workout (before the game) so I gave it a try.”
Miami opened the second quarter on a 16-4 run, moving its lead to 37-21 with 5:01 to go in the frame. Forward James Ennis accounted for seven points in the run as the Knicks hit just two of their 14 shots.
Anthony and Stoudemire combined for 15 points in the first quarter, but the Knicks trailed 21-17.
Deng led the Heat, who connected on just six of its 23 shots, with eight points.
NOTES: Heat F Chris Andersen missed his second consecutive game due to a sprained right ankle. … Miami began the night ranked first in the league in 3-point field-goal percentage (.391). … Knicks C Andrea Bargnani has yet to appear in a game this season due to a strained hamstring (13 games) and a calf injury (five games). … Through Saturday, the Knicks led the league in personal fouls and disqualifications. … Miami F Luol Deng has averaged at least 15 points and shot at least 40 percent from the field each of the past five seasons.
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