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Heat look for answers after mauling by rival Knicks

Miami Heat's Ray Allen (L) fouls New York Knicks' J.R. Smith (C) as the Heat's LeBron James (R) looks on in the send half of their NBA baske
Miami Heat's Ray Allen (L) fouls New York Knicks' J.R. Smith (C) as the Heat's LeBron James (R) looks on in the send half of their NBA baske

By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra does not want any "drama" but his team's second 20-point loss to the rival New York Knicks in five weeks has certainly focused the minds of his team.

The Heat, who entered Thursday's home game against New York still stinging from Tuesday's humbling road loss to the last-place Washington Wizards, were dominated by a Knicks team that enjoyed 18 three-pointers in a 112-92 win.

Spoelstra said issues raised by Miami's lackluster effort, which led to their first two-game losing skid of the season despite playing a Knicks team that was without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony, needed to be addressed.

"We have to be honest with ourselves and really own it," Spoelstra said. "We are not going to over-dramatize this or make it bigger than it is. We are simply going to own it and the quicker we do, the quicker we can fix it."

Spoelstra, who captured his first National Basketball Association title as a head coach last season, is certain his experienced roster has the qualities needed to resolve their current problems.

"We have guys that are very familiar with our system. It's just going to take another level, another level of commitment, of effort, of communications, all those things that we are capable of but it's time," he said.

All-Star forward Chris Bosh, who had 12 points in the loss, believes his team, which beat New York in all three meetings last season, are playing at too high a tempo.

"We should really slow down some and really put pressure on teams. I think sometimes we get into this place where we try to force things by trying to play too fast. Sometimes it is good but there has to be a balance," he said.

"We had a lot of success when we were just taking our time. We don't have to put it in our heads to just 'go.' We're a good team, we can pick you apart, whatever way you want it."

LeBron James, who put up a game-high 31 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a losing effort, disagreed that excessive speed was behind the loss.

"Pace has nothing to do with us getting smashed. If we play fast we have to get back and communicate defensively. Slow the pace up? I don't know, we will play whatever type of game, we'll be fine," he said.

For James, the NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player, Miami's main problem is a lack of on-court communication.

"We communicate sometimes and that is not a good thing, we have to do it all the time. We have to communicate more and now have as many breakdowns," said James.

"They pretty much kicked our ass. We can't just throw this under the rug and move on to the next game. We have some work to do."

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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