The defending champion Miami Heat took one on the chin last night in the Big Apple and are hoping a return to south Florida will get them back on track.
The Heat will begin a three-game homestand Saturday versus the winless Denver Nuggets and were just handed a 104-84 loss by the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. On an emotional night for a tri-state area ravaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony lit up the Heat to the tune of a game-high 30 points on 10-of-28 shooting.
Anthony had 16 points in the first quarter.
Superstar and reigning MVP LeBron James led Miami with 23 points and Rashard Lewis netted 16 off the bench. The Heat, who opened defense of their NBA title with a win versus Boston, shot 46.5 percent last night and got 15 points from Dwyane Wade.
"They played well, they fed off not only the city, the fans, everything that's been going on," James said. "It was a good win for them."
Miami had 21 turnovers and made just 7-of-20 from 3-point range (35 percent). The Knicks, meanwhile, sank 19-of-36 from downtown.
The Heat also will host Phoenix and Brooklyn on their upcoming residency.
Denver is looking to avoid its first 0-3 start since 2006-07 and has dropped matchups with Philadelphia and Orlando to begin a three-game road trip.
In a 102-89 setback against the Magic on Friday, Danilo Gallinari led the Nuggets with 23 points and Ty Lawson recorded 12 and seven assists. Gallinari missed the opener with a sprained left ankle.
Andre Iguodala, who was acquired from the 76ers in the four-team deal that saw Dwight Howard land with the Los Angeles Lakers, had nine points, eight rebounds and five assists.
"The first half we weren't very good at either end of the court," Nuggets coach George Karl said.
Orlando posted a 60-36 advantage in the paint and led by as many as 21 points in the first half. Denver led the league in scoring with 104.1 points per game in 2011-12, and hasn't reached 90 points yet this season.
The Nuggets have won 11 of the last 13 meetings with the Heat and prevailed in the only matchup last season, 117-104, on Jan. 13 in Colorado. Miami has won the past two encounters in south Florida.