Jeremy Lin offered no excuses.
He and the Knicks had no answers.
Lin’s rapid rise from unknown to superstar was slowed big-time last night in Miami by the Heat, who overwhelmed the NBA’s hottest story with a swarming defense that the Knicks’ new starting point guard could not solve.
Forcing Lin into easily the worst game of his remarkable run as New York’s newest star, Miami topped New York, 102-88 - the eighth straight win for the NBA-leading Heat, all by at least 12 points.
Chris Bosh scored 25 points, Dwyane Wade added 22 and LeBron James finished with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists for Miami.
Lin’s final line: 1 for 11 from the field, 8 points, 3 assists - a long way from the 23.9 points and 9.2 assists he had been averaging over his first 11 games in the Knicks’ rotation.
Lin turned the ball over eight times, six in the first half, saying afterward that the Heat defense made it difficult even to dribble.
Lin’s last shot - like most of his others - bounced off the rim with six seconds left, the outcome already decided, and he simply walked quietly off the court into the locker room.
“A learning experience,’’ Lin said. “A tough one.’’
But for a while, the game lived up to the hype.
Spike Lee, Floyd Mayweather and Chad Ochocinco all sat within seven seats of each other on one sideline, Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison of the Miami Marlins were on another sideline, and members of the New York Mets’ front office reportedly jumped aboard a helicopter for the quick trip from the team’s spring-training home in Port St. Lucie.
Even the First Fan took note of the hubbub surrounding the game.
“In another life, I would be staying for the Knicks-Heat game tonight, then going up to Orlando for NBA All-Star weekend,’’ President Obama told cheering students at the University of Miami earlier in the day. “But these days, I’ve got a few other things on my plate. Just a few.’’
If proof was needed that the Heat wanted to make a point against Lin, there was some clear evidence.
Exhibit A: Mario Chalmers stole the ball from Lin and went in for a two-handed dunk in the early minutes. Exhibit B: Norris Cole, Chalmers’s backup at point guard, did the same thing in the second quarter.
Combined dunks this season for Chalmers and Cole entering last night? Zero.
Amare Stoudemire also had six turnovers in the first 24 minutes, the Knicks were outscored, 30-16, in the paint, 12-1 on fast breaks and 12-3 off turnovers.
Nonetheless, Miami’s lead was only 51-47 at the break.
For all the fire the Heat were playing with, the Knicks were up to the task. Steve Novak came off the bench to make all three of his shots - all from 3-point range - and New York was right there even though Lin had two assists in the first 1:26 of the game and no others in the final 22:34 of the half.
“He’s a good player, a really good player,’’ James said of Lin. “And they’re going to do some great things. But for us, we come in and take care of business.’’
Thunder 100, Lakers 85 - Kevin Durant scored 33 points, Russell Westbrook added 19 and host Oklahoma City dumped Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant scored 24 points but went 7 for 24 from the field for Los Angeles. Pau Gasol had 22 points and nine rebounds.
Spurs 114, Nuggets 99 - DeJuan Blair tied a career high with 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, helping San Antonio roll past Denver to wrap up a nine-game road swing.
Hawks 83, Magic 78 - Josh Smith scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as host Atlanta snapped a three-game skid.