- Associated Press - Thursday, December 16, 2010

MIAMI (AP) - It’s the scene the Knicks tried to turn into their reality this summer: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade together at Madison Square Garden.

Here it comes.

Alas, it’ll be a one-night-only gig. And James and Wade will be arriving at the Garden as guests. Unwelcome guests, at that.

When the Miami Heat head to New York and face the Knicks on Friday night, it’ll essentially summarize how the wild free-agent period last summer played out. The Knicks coveted James and Wade; they teamed in Miami with Chris Bosh. Amare Stoudemire was considered by some to be New York’s fallback choice during its offseason shopping spree; he’s playing like an MVP-in-waiting for the resurgent Knicks, who are putting together their best basketball in a decade.

Hype?

It’ll be there, thicker and tougher than a sidewalk vendor’s pretzel. And maybe that simmering Heat-Knicks rivalry will rekindle, too.

“It’ll be a great environment, one of those games that you love to play in, those moments that you look forward to,” Wade said. “And when Friday comes I think we’ll all be excited.”

For the Heat, what’s looming Friday night is nothing new.

They opened the season before a raucous crowd in Boston, then had the venomous reaction in Cleveland two weeks ago by fans who had waited months to let James know _ loudly and none-too-politely _ what they thought of his decision to join the Heat. Knicks fans traditionally aren’t shy about letting opponents know their thoughts either, which means Wade and James will be targets again.

By now, the Heat are finding that to be almost commonplace.

“We’re public enemy No. 1 virtually everywhere we go,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Especially now.

The Knicks met with James on July 1, the day the free-agent shopping window opened, and at least one other time before the NBA’s two-time reigning MVP decided on joining Miami.

So wanted was James in New York that one of the city’s newspapers, the Daily News, hosted its own all-things-free-agency website _ GetLeBron.com. But in recent days, the sense in New York has been decidedly different _ “Who Needs LeBron?” is the question asked in the papers now.

As he has for months, James says he strongly considered all six of the teams he met with in July, the Knicks included.

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