NEW YORK (AP) — With Chris Bosh in the hospital and Goran Dragic not yet in uniform, Erik Spoelstra told the Miami Heat that nine players would have to be enough.
Sure helped that eight of them scored in double figures.
Dwyane Wade scored 12 points after a seven-game absence for a hamstring injury, rookie Shabazz Napier led the Heat with a season-high 18, and Miami beat the New York Knicks 111-87 on Friday night.
“We liked that it was a team effort,” Spoelstra said. “You hear this all the time, that this league is a business, but that doesn’t mean you don’t go through a lot of emotions as players and staff. We’ve been through a lot in the last 24 hours, a lot of change.”
Bosh was still getting tested in South Florida to determine the cause of his back and side pain. Spoelstra said before the game it was premature to comment and that he would be “talking out of line” if he discussed the All-Star forward’s condition, amid speculation that the concern was blood clots had worked their way from his legs to his lungs, putting his season or even career in jeopardy.
“Chris is heavy on our hearts, no doubt about it, but our goal is to do the same thing it was when Chris was here, and that’s to play good basketball and win some games,” Wade said.
The Heat traded four players Thursday in the three-team deal that brought Dragic and his brother Zoran from Phoenix. They were getting their physicals Friday and Spoelstra hopes they could be available Saturday at home against New Orleans.
Langston Galloway scored 19 points for the Knicks, who lost their sixth straight, a day after Carmelo Anthony had season-ending surgery on his left knee. Amare Stoudemire had been waived Monday after requesting a buyout and has since signed with Dallas.
“Whoever steps on the floor has to help out in any way possible,” Galloway said. “This was a struggle for us and we didn’t play hard enough tonight. We just didn’t bring it.”
New York was an NBA-worst 10-43 at the break and things might even get uglier now. Anthony and Stoudemire combined to average 36 points and left Galloway and Tim Hardaway Jr. as the top remaining scorers, each with 11.1 per game.
Hardaway finished with 17.
“We just have to stay positive and try to get better,” veteran Jose Calderon said.
The Heat had dropped four of their last five before the break, the lone victory when Bosh scored 32 in a win over the Knicks on Feb. 9. But they won their return easily, so much so that Wade played only 22 minutes in his first game since Jan. 27.
Tyler Johnson scored 14 points and three starters finished with 13 for the Heat. One of them, Mario Chalmers, added eight steals, seven assists and six rebounds.
“It was a great team effort. We came out with nine guys and we distributed the ball, and we made sure we got each other into the flow,” said Napier, the rookie from Connecticut who added seven rebounds and six assists.
Napier was 4 for 4 with a pair of 3-pointers in the first half as Miami led 58-48. The Heat outrebounded the Knicks 27-14 in the first two quarters and 50-32 for the game.
Heat: Miami beat New York for the sixth straight time, its third-longest active win streak against an opponent. The Heat have won 16 in a row against Toronto and nine straight against Phoenix. … The Heat are 10-1 against the Atlantic Division.
Knicks: Rookie Cleanthony Early was given his second start of the season. He was 1 of 7 for two points. … Guard Shane Larkin missed the game with strep throat.
THE GOODS ON GORAN
Spoelstra called Goran Dragic a “dynamic, explosive playmaker.”
“We’ve liked him for a long time, that’s not a secret,” Spoelstra said. “We haven’t had an opportunity to really get him until yesterday, but we’ve tried. So we’re excited about it, we think it’s a good fit with our organization and we’re excited to finally see him tomorrow.”
Heat: Host New Orleans on Saturday.
Knicks: Host Cleveland on Sunday.
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