MIAMI - LeBron James didn't have his superstar teammate to help him Sunday afternoon, but neither did J.R. Smith.
Carmelo Anthony played but couldn't have been more invisible in a game the Knicks needed to give them a realistic shot at a playoff berth.
Anthony, slowed by a strained right shoulder, was just 4-for-17 from the field and didn't take a shot in the fourth quarter of the Knicks' 102-91 loss to the Heat. The Knicks (33-45) dropped 11/2 games behind Atlanta for the East's final playoff spot with four to play.
The Hawks play at Indiana Sunday night and hold the tiebreaker on the Knicks.
Smith scored 32 points and set a franchise record with 10 three-pointers. He was 10-for-22 from deep and 11-for-28 overall. Anthony finished with 13 points, just two in the second half.
James was brilliant, leading Miami (53-23) with 38 points, six assists and five rebounds. He carried the load with Dwyane Wade out for the sixth straight game because of a strained hamstring. The Heat was also without valuable reserve Chris Andersen (knee soreness) and Greg Oden (back).
The Knicks are off until they play at Toronto Friday. After that, their three remaining games are against Chicago, at Brooklyn and the regular-season finale at home against the Raptors.
This was a game the Knicks, who led by 13 in the first half, had to have after their one-point loss to the Wizards Friday.
A big possession came in the waning seconds of the third with the Heat up 70-64. Anthony missed a three-pointer but the ball went out of bounds off the Heat with 13.3 seconds left. The shot clock was off. But instead of holding for a last shot Anthony attempted a quick shot with 10.4 seconds left.
James grabbed the rebound, took it end to end, scored and was fouled. His three-point play gave Miami a 73-64 lead into the fourth.
The momentum carried into the final quarter for the Heat. Miami scored on five of its first six possessions and held an 85-70 lead after a Ray Allen three-pointer with 8:51 left.
Three minutes later, James knocked down a three that made it 92-78. But the Knicks scored the next seven -- five by Amar'e Stoudemire -- and got within 92-85 on a Raymond Felton layup with 4:39 left. The Knicks had a chance to cut it to four on their next trip, but Iman Shumpert missed a three.
After a layup by James, Smith buried a three-pointer to make it 94-88 with 3:05 left. Mario Chalmers drilled a three to make it a nine-point game with 2:35 left.
Smith answered again with another three-pointer to make it 97-91 with 1:51 to go. The Knicks needed a stop but left Chris Bosh open and he hit a three to give Miami a 100-91 lead with 1:32 to go. On the next trip, Smith missed two three-point tries and Miami rebounded the second.
James was fouled with 51.5 seconds to go and made both free throws for the final points of the game.
The Knicks got off to a great start, forcing four turnovers on the Heat's first six possessions and jumping out to a 16-3 lead less than three minutes into the game. But Miami answered with a 31-10 run and led 34-26 after Allen's three-pointer with 8:51 left in the half.
The Heat had three chances to push the lead to double digits on their next possession but misfired on all three shots. Later in the second, Miami had another opportunity to extend to double figures, but a bad pass by Bosh led to a Smith three-pointer that brought the Knicks within 36-31.
The Knicks went on a run from there with Smith carrying much of the scoring load. He scored 11 of the Knicks' last 22 points of the half and they led 50-48 at the break. Smith had 17 in the opening half.
Stoudemire opened the scoring in the second half, putting back an offensive rebound and completing the three-point play. The Heat followed with an 11-2 run and were up 59-55 after two free throws by James with 6:01 left.
The Knicks scored only 14 points in the third. But they were within two, 66-64, after a Stoudemire basket with 2:24 left. The Knicks missed their last six field-goal tries and were 6-for-23 overall in the third.