The Miami Heat showed they still know how to win games without flying up and down the court.
Alonzo Mourning scored 25 points Sunday night and Miami once again got physical to beat New York 94-88 in the first meeting between the teams since the Knicks ousted the Heat in last season's playoffs.
"We have been playing them for three or fours year now," Mourning said. "They know our plays, we know their plays. We really contained them. We all did what we had to do to come out with the win."
"We are a team that's maturing and playing together," coach Pat Riley said. "We've been together three or four years now. We are getting to know each other."
Miami had scored more than 100 points in five of its first six games once more than all of last year and were the highest scoring team in the NBA at 110.7 points per game.
Against the Knicks, the Heat were held nearly 17 points below their average yet they still won.
"We are capable of playing both ways on both ends of the floor and today we showed it," Jamal Mashburn said.
It was the defense that won this game, holding Latrell Sprewell to six points on 2-of-14 shooting. The Knicks shot 38 percent as a team, with the four starters other than Allan Houston scoring just 21 points.
"We're noncompetitive right now," coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "It's disappointing. We're underestimating how hard you have to work to get any win. We know how good it feels to play hard and win. We also know how bad it feels to play like this."
Marcus Camby, coming off the bench for the first time this season, had 22 points and eight rebounds to lead the Knicks, who have lost three straight games.
The Knicks, who begin a five-game Western swing on Tuesday in Denver, received a tongue-lashing from Van Gundy after their latest loss. His players didn't disagree with his assessment.
"Tonight was pathetic. There was no effort," Chris Childs said. "I can't figure it out. We're trying to go somewhere. We don't have time for this."
Houston, who scored 20 points, didn't get a chance to pull off the last-second theatrics that won last season's first-round series. Houston's last-second shot in Game 5 started the Knicks on an improbable run to the NBA Finals that saved Van Gundy's job and kept the team intact for this season.
The intensity that surrounds one of the NBA's fiercest rivalries wasn't evident in the teams' first meeting this season. There were no fights, no technical fouls and only one flagrant foul on Brown late in the fourth quarter.
"A rivalry is a rivalry, but you can't get lost in it anymore," Riley said, referring to bench-clearing brawls between the teams that led to playoff suspensions in 1997 and 1998. "We are older than that. We just want to play without any of that stuff. That's where we are now."
The Heat used a 19-4 run late in the second quarter and in the beginning of the third to take a 55-39 lead with 9:20 left in the third. Mourning and Voshon Lenard each scored seven points in the run, with Mourning hitting a 20-footer to cap it.
The Knicks couldn't get within 10 points until late in the fourth quarter after the game had been decided.
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