Heat dent Knicks' playoff hopes; Pacers lose again
Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) dunks the ball as New York Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (5) looks on during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Photo by Steve Mitchell, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
Heat 102, Knicks 91
The Miami Heat, led by forward LeBron James' 38 points, overcame a slow start to issue a damaging defeat to the New York Knicks.
New York was led by guard J.R. Smith, who made a franchise record 10 3-pointers in 21 attempts and had 32 points.
Carmelo Anthony was held to 13 points, bothered by a sore right shoulder.
The loss dropped the Knicks (33-45) 1.5 games behind the Atlanta Hawks in the battle for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, while Miami (53-23) moved one game in front of Indiana in the battle for the top seed in the East.
Hawks 107, Pacers 88
Jeff Teague scored a game-high 25 points, leading four Atlanta starters in double figures as the Hawks stunned the Indiana Pacers.
The Hawks (34-42) moved closer to nailing down their seven consecutive playoff spot. Atlanta is two games ahead of New York (33-45) with six games left.
Indiana forward Paul George scored 10 of his team-high 18 points in the second half but the Pacers continue to struggle.
Indiana (53-25) lost for the seventh time in nine games and now trails the Heat by one game in the race for the No. 1 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.