NEW YORK — Dwyane Wade never needed to worry during Miami’s dominant days about looking up at the standings and wondering who the Heat would face to open the playoffs.
This time this matchup won’t be in their favor, but Wade just wants the Heat to be playing well when they get to it.
Rookie Damyean Dotson had career-high 30 points and 11 rebounds, reserve Luke Kornet added a career-best 17 points and the New York Knicks blew out the Heat 122-98 on Friday night.
“We want to go into the playoffs on a high note. You don’t want to go in losing three in a row, you want to definitely go in winning and feeling good about yourself and playing,” said Wade, a three-time champion with Miami.
“Now on the seeds part, whatever happens at the end of the day from the seeds standpoint, (it) is what it is. Like I said, we got the bottom, we got to play with (a) Goliath team anyways. So, it really doesn’t matter.”
Trey Burke scored 17 points and Kyle O’Quinn had 14 points and 14 rebounds as the Knicks snapped a four-game losing streak.
New York hit a season-best 18 3-pointers, with Dotson and Kornet making four apiece. The Knicks assisted on 33 of their 45 made attempts.
“Keep believing. Keep working hard,” said Dotson, who’s played sparingly this season. The 23-year-old, picked 44th overall in the 2017 draft, became the first Knicks rookie to post 30 points and 10 rebounds since Patrick Ewing in 1985-86.
Goran Dragic had 15 points and Hassan Whiteside chipped in 14 in Miami’s disappointing effort with the postseason set to tip off next weekend.
“I hardly recognized our team tonight compared to who we have been and how we’ve have been playing,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Heat remained in sixth place in the East, a half-game ahead of Milwaukee. The Knicks host the Bucks on Saturday.
The Heat will wrap up the regular season against Oklahoma City, currently sixth in the Western Conference race, on Monday, and East No. 1 Toronto on Wednesday, a pair of games Wade would like to get on their side before the postseason run picks up.
“We came out and laid an egg,” the 14-year veteran said. “So, we have to come back Monday at home versus a team that is fighting for the playoffs. We have to continue to play well like we have been since the All-Star break going into the playoffs.”
Miami scored the first four points of the game, and from there the Knicks took over, ending the first quarter with a 34-23 lead despite losing forward Michael Beasley for good with a left knee injury just 14 seconds into the contest.
New York went into the half leading 63-50 and led by 18 at the start of the third quarter before Miami got as close as 10 points when James Johnson scored five straight to cut the gap 69-59 with 9:56 remaining.
The Knicks then outscored Miami 27-19 to put the game away for good, going into the fourth quarter up 96-78.
Knicks: The Knicks were without Emmanuel Mudiay (headache) in the second half after the point guard lost his balance late in the second quarter and fell out of bounds near the baseline, hitting his head on a camera man’s knee. . New York’s Tim Hardaway Jr. had to leave the game with 41 seconds left in the third quarter after he grabbed a rebound and injured his left ankle as he landed on his feet. He sat down briefly on the bench before leaving for the locker room. X-Rays were negative. … Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said there could be chance Beasley plays Saturday night since his injury wasn’t too serious.
Heat: Kelly Olynyk scored 11 points and Wayne Ellington had 10.
The LeBron James billboard craze hit the Big Apple, and someone that’s very close to the three-time NBA champion laughed it off.
Ahead of James’ final visit of the season with Cleveland to Madison Square Garden on Monday night, a billboard raised right across the street from the arena’s main entrance implores this summer’s top free agent to sign with the Knicks.
“KING OF NEW YORK? PROVE IT. KINGJAMESNYC2018”, read the sign placed by NYC Ads Co., a New York City-based marketing company.
Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon and Akron, Ohio, James’ hometown, have each devised their billboard campaigns with hopes of swaying the 14-time All-Star’s decision once the free agency market opens up in July.
Wade’s take before the Heat took the floor at the Garden on Friday night?
“Good luck”, he said.
Heat: Host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.
Knicks: Host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.