LeBron James dropped to the floor in Miami, holding the back of his head and then staggering a bit when he reached his feet.
A few moments later, he was fine.
And a few moments after that, the Miami Heat had complete control of Game 1 against the New York Knicks.
James scored 32 points after shooting 10 for 14 from the field, and the Heat rode the strength of what became a 32-2 run to easily beat the Knicks, 100-67, on Saturday, striking first in the series between clubs that waged classic annual battles from 1997 through 2000 and are meeting for the first time since.
Dwyane Wade added 19 points in his first game back after dislocating his left index finger.
No, this wasn't redemption for falling short in last season's Finals. But for James and the Heat, it sure was a fine start.
"I'm a different player this year, a different person this year compared to last year," James said. "I've waited to get back to the postseason, prepared myself all season, throughout the offseason to get back to this point."
It was physical, it was heated, and it was one-sided. New York's 67 points matched a franchise playoff low.
Miami turned 27 New York turnovers into a franchise playoff-record 38 points. The Knicks were called for 21 fouls in the first half. Miami enjoyed a 28-5 advantage in free throws attempted in the first 24 minutes alone.
"This series is not over," Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire said. "We've got to learn from our mistakes today and get ready for Monday."
Orlando steals home court
Don't count the Magic out just yet.
Former St. Joseph's star Jameer Nelson scored 17 points to help sixth-seeded Orlando, playing without Dwight Howard, surprise the third-seeded Indiana Pacers, 81-77, in Game 1 of the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series in Indianapolis.
The Magic played defense Howard would have been proud of down the stretch, overcoming a seven-point deficit by holding the Pacers scoreless for the final 4:05.
David West scored 19 points and Danny Granger added 17 for the Pacers. Granger traveled with 7.5 seconds left and the Pacers trailing by three.
Game 2 will be Monday night in Indianapolis.
- Associated Press