The New York Knicks stepped up late in the fourth quarter, making key plays in their 106-104 victory against the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden.

It was a back-and-forth game, but the New York Knicks (28-25) pulled through and got the win, defeating the Miami Heat (29-24) 106 to 104. Playing against Bam Adebayo without your best big out isn’t always ideal, but the Knicks beat the adversity. Not to mention, Jalen Brunson was out with a non-COVID illness, further putting New York at a loss. Immanuel Quickley handled point guard duties in place of Brunson and got the ball moving within the offense.

RJ Barrett led all scorers in this game with 30 points, adding eight rebounds and four assists in 41 minutes of play. It was a great opportunity for him to bounce back after being benched late against the Lakers on Tuesday. Julius Randle tallied 23 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and three steals, though, Randle also finished with seven turnovers. He may have come up short in the clutch in recent games, but Quentin Grimes played a crucial role in the team’s success tonight, finishing with 17 points, three rebounds, and two assists.

After a poor start to Tuesday night’s game, the Knicks did not skip a beat on Thursday night. Newly announced All-Star reserve, Julius Randle got back to his old ways, knocking down three shots from behind the arc and a few free throws for 12 first-quarter points. Something interesting to note in the absence of Jalen Brunson was the use of Immanuel Quickley in the starting lineup. There’s no question that Jalen Brunson should remain the starter, but Quickley’s ability to step into the spotlight in a starter role is a testament to his game preparation. Check out this great ball movement from RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Quickley:

While it was a solid, all-around quarter for New York, the last two minutes did not fare well, going scoreless in that span shooting 0-for-4 from the field with one turnover. Bench play was an issue early considering Quickley ascended to the starting lineup. In fact, Isaiah Hartenstein was the only bench player for the Knicks to score in the first quarter. As a result, Miami’s bench took advantage, cutting what was once a 13-point New York lead back into single digits.

Trending negatively, RJ Barrett and New York’s bench stayed out on the floor to open the second quarter and continued to struggle on defense. Miami’s interior defense made it difficult for the Knicks to get any penetration into the paint and overall, did a great job limiting the Knicks’ bench to just 5 total points in the first half in comparison to their 19 bench points in the half.

Regardless, New York managed to stay in front with Randle, Barrett, and Grimes making some great plays late. With an emphatic dunk to finish with 19 first-half points, Julius Randle and the Knicks headed into the locker room with a 51-48 lead going into halftime.

Continuing his strong night in the second half, RJ Barrett made a statement in the third quarter. Even though he couldn’t hit a three-point field goal, Barrett did a great job navigating through the lane and taking smart shots, scoring 11 points in the third quarter. New York led by as much as 14 points midway through the quarter.

Unfortunately, fellow 2019 lottery pick Tyler Herro had a bone to pick. The former Kentucky guard scored 3 straight threes for Miami, including one coming out of the timeout to cut into the lead. The momentum in the back end of the quarter favored the Heat and they took advantage, forcing Knick turnovers and capitalizing on their chances off those turnovers. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrong for New York went wrong, and a Kyle Lowry three gave the Heat the lead.

The Knicks easily could have collapsed to end the quarter, but after a quick timeout, they came out with a vengeance. It started with a strong play from Hartenstein, scoring the and-one in the paint to equalize the game. Then Miles McBride stepped up and hit a huge three from the left corner to push out the lead. But Quentin Grimes capped off the quarter with a nice catch-and-shoot three off the feed from Julius Randle. Take a look at these dishes from the former Kentucky forward:

After a poor showing in the first half, the bench responded to the criticism, scoring 21 points in the second half after scoring just 5 in the first. At the end of the third quarter, New York remained tight, leading 77-72 with the final quarter of play looming. The Knicks must continue to force turnovers to create more opportunities and shoot the ball at an efficient clip to close things out at Madison Square Garden.

The bench continued to come to the aid of the starters, as Obi Toppin cashed in on some opportunities in the first 6 minutes, scoring two three-pointers and a layup on the fast break. Every last one of his buckets mattered in this tight contest, finishing with 7 points in his short fourth-quarter spurt. Take a look at this dime from Evan Fournier to Toppin:

Not only was Toppin making significant contributions late, but McBride and Hartenstein played extremely well down the stretch too. While Hartenstein is known for not being the best defender, he made significant strides in hustling in recent games and it paid off in this outing. It was Barrett once again doing the dirty work on offense, getting some nifty layups to go in the process.

Although he had a fantastic game overall and in the fourth quarter, Barrett struggled mightily in the last two minutes of play, coughing the ball up twice at crucial points of the game, giving Miami the opportunity to close the gap and have a chance to take the lead. Thankfully, ball movement was not an issue in this outing as they flourish at threading the needle. In a critical moment, Randle zipped a pass over to the corner for Quentin Grimes, who splashed a three to give the Knicks a 5-point cushion with under two minutes remaining.

The Heat may have been down for the count, but the play of Herro and Bam Adebayo late helped them stay in this one. Despite the Heat making attempts at retaining the lead, here’s what the Knicks did to conclude the game:

It was a thrilling sight to see. The first play features RJ Barrett getting it to Randle in the post, who recognizes that the defense drops, so he whips it over to Quentin Grimes for a corner three. BANG. A huge three to push the lead out to 4 for New York. And then the play to cap it all off. The Knicks played a great defensive possession with 15 seconds left which led to a tip from Hartenstein, which eventually led to a Randle slam on the fast break, some beautiful basketball. It was a gut-wrenching ending to the game, and it got worse from there.

The Knicks gave up possession after Randle slipped and lost the ball, giving the Heat the opportunity to hit the game-winning shot. They ended up getting it into Herro who took a fadeaway three from the corner but came up unsuccessful. After the recent struggle at home, it was great to get a quality home win against a quality team.

The Knicks remain home at Madison Square Garden to face Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Los Angeles Clippers (29-25) on Saturday, February 4th. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.