LeBron James inspires Miami Heat to victory as they clinch series 4-1 to set up clash with Indiana Pacers.
Carmelo Anthony cannot save New York Knicks from NBA play-offs exit
The final horn sounded, and LeBron James wrapped his arms around Carmelo Anthony in a warm embrace.
Their head-to-head scoring match-up in this series was even, 139 points apiece.
Just about everything else tipped Miami's way - so the Heat are moving on in the NBA play-offs and the New York Knicks are going home.
James had 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade both scored 19 points and the Miami Heat ousted the New York Knicks 106-94 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first-round series Wednesday night.
The Heat won the series 4-1, and will meet the Indiana Pacers in the East semi-finals starting Sunday in Miami.
"We do not take this for granted," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "This was a tough series. We feel very good about moving on and it'll only get tougher from here."
For the Heat, it was only the first step. The reigning East champions have one goal - getting back to the finals and winning it all - and that was likely why even beating the franchise's longtime rival prompted, at most, a subdued celebration.
"We will savour this win tonight," James said. "And then we get to work tomorrow and get ready for Indiana."
Anthony scored 35 points for the Knicks, including a spinning jumper over James at the end of the third quarter that pulled New York within 81-67. It was far from being enough to stave off an all-too-familiar play-off result for Anthony, part of that 2003 draft class that also yielded James, Bosh and Wade.
Anthony has played 54 post-season games, being part of wins only 17 times. A misleading stat for certain - it's hardly all on him - and no shortage of people in the Heat organisation interrupted their celebrating of a series-clincher to tip their caps Anthony's way afterward.
"We fought, under the circumstances," Anthony said. "I'm not one to make any excuses for anything. ... But Miami, they're a tough defensive team. They stick to what their schemes are."
James shot 48 per cent from the field in the series, Anthony shot 42 per cent. James averaged 6.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists, Anthony averaged 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists.
"It was fun, man," James said. "He's one of the most competitive players I've ever played against in a play-off series."
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