The Knicks lost their second straight as they were unable to come up with pivotal stops against the playoff-hopefull Heat.
There was plenty for the New York Knicks to be frustrated about in enemy territory, between questionable offensive fouls and no-calls on the other end, plus 16 turnovers against Miami — but nothing was more backbreaking than the Heat heating up from long range in the fourth quarter to hold off the resilient Knicks to win, 127-120, on Wednesday night.
New York (42-32) didn’t have an answer for Miami, with shaky first-half defense negating another solid shooting performance for the Knicks to start, but it was only a sign of what was to come.
The Heat (40-34) were nearly unstoppable from beyond the arc, shooting 16-of-28 (57.1%) as a team. Miami made six 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including four in the final six minutes of action to pull away for the win. However, the Knicks’ issues started far before that. It looked like things were sputtering out of control for the Knicks late in the third quarter.
Frustration peaked, and Miami rode the momentum after a Julius Randle technical foul allowed the Heat to build its first double-digit lead, an 11-point margin with 3:19 left in the third.
The Knicks didn’t falter though and started to chip away at the deficit with some needed shots from RJ Barrett, Josh Hart, and Mitchell Robinson. An alley-oop by Robinson briefly gave the Knicks a 98-97 lead with 9:35 to go, and it became a back-and-forth game until the Heat went on a massive 16-4 run that virtually sealed the game.
Max Strus opened up the scoring spurt with a three at the 7:05 mark, and the barrage was topped off with a Tyler Herro three to top things off to give his team a 114-102 lead with 3:54 left in the game. The Knicks were unable to recover; by the time they gained some traction to close the gap to as close as five points, it was too late.
Outside of a couple of big Miami runs, it was a closely-contested game. Miami only had a 64-61 lead at the half, and every quarter was decided by four or fewer points. The Knicks shot well on their end, shooting 42-of-82 overall (51.2%) and 16-of-40 (40.0%) from deep, but couldn’t get the timely stops when they needed them.
The Knicks have now given up 254 points between their back-to-back losses between the Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Barrett led the Knicks with 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting, with six boards and five assists.
Jalen Brunson added 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting, with six rebounds, five assists, and a steal. Quentin Grimes hit the 20-point mark for the fifth time season and drilled six 3-pointers en route to a 22-point performance. Randle struggled on the scoring end after averaging 33.0 points across the previous two meetings with the Heat this season. He finished with 15 points, six rebounds, and nine assists. Josh Hart added 12 points off the bench.
For Miami, Jimmy Butler racked up a game-high 35 points, with four rebounds, nine assists, and four steals. He was active on both ends of the floor and seemed to get under Randle’s skin with his trash talk.
Tyler Herro had 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting, and Gabe Vincent also had an efficient outing of his own, going 8-for-12 with 19 points.
Bam Adebayo had 15 points and seven rebounds. Kyle Lowry and Max Strus had some deflating shots in the fourth quarter and finished with 14 points and 11 points, respectively, off the bench.
New York still leads the season series, 2-1.
The Knicks will look to shake off their two-game losing streak on Thursday night, as they stop in Orlando for another road game before coming home.
Knicks-Magic is scheduled for a 7 p.m. ET tip-off, and can be seen on NBA TV.
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