Shorthanded without Hassan Whiteside on Wednesday night, some might have thought things evened out when Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter.
The Heat turned in its second dismal performance in as many nights and suffered its most lopsided loss this season falling 115-86 to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
A night after the Heat (10-11) surrendered a season-high 75 points to the Cavaliers, the Knicks scored 65 over the first two quarters on Wednesday culminating with a halftime buzzer-beating jumper by Tim Hardaway, Jr.
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Whiteside sat out Wednesday (the sixth time he’s missed a game this season) as he continued to deal with the soreness in his left knee stemming from the bone bruise he suffered at the beginning of the season.
Without him, rookie Bam Adebayo made his fourth career start and scored nine points, but couldn’t slow down the Knicks’ dominance in the paint even without Porzingis.
New York outscored the Heat 58-32 in the paint as Enes Kanter led the way with 22 points and 14 rebounds.
Porzingis, the Knicks’ 7-3 forward who entered the game ranked fourth in the NBA in scoring (27.0 points per game) suffered what appeared initially to be an ugly ankle injury with 9:30 left in the first quarter. Porzingis and Justise Winslow were chasing a ball to the baseline when his right ankle got caught under Winslow’s foot and bent awkwardly.
Porzingis was taken to the locker room for x-rays and was later diagnosed with an ankle sprain. Porzingis did not return.
A night after the Cavaliers shot 61.7 percent in the first half against the Heat, Miami’s defense struggled again over the first two quarters allowing the Knicks to shoot 58.5 percent (24 of 41) and 63.6 percent (14 of 22) in the first quarter.
The Knicks shot 60.3 percent overall (44 of 73) and the Heat were limited to 38.1 percent (32 of 84). Kelly Olynyk led the Heat with 18 points.
The Heat trailed by as many as 30 points in the second half as it split its four games on the road trip beating Minnesota and Chicago before the back-to-back lopsided defeats the past two nights.