The Knicks fought through injury and adversity to best their playoff-hopeful rivals the Miami Heat 101-92.

Just as Jalen Brunson made his return, another Knick standout went down, as Julius Randle suffered a sprained ankle late in the second quarter.

Regardless, the New York Knicks have embraced the next-man-up mentality and stepped up in adverse situations once again. Even with their versatile big man unable to return to the game, the Knicks were able to buckle down and close out their season series with the Miami Heat, winning 101-92.

New York wins the series, 3-1, avenging an earlier loss to the Heat exactly one week ago. It was also a pivotal victory for the playoff picture, as the Knicks (44-33) solidify their hold on the No. 5 seed and draw closer to securing their spot in the postseason, without having to participate in the play-in rounds.

Miami (40-37) remains in the No. 7 spot and is in a close race for the 6-seed with the Brooklyn Nets, who have a slight lead over them.

Cooling down the Heat on defense

While the Knicks have been solid defensively this season, they’ve struggled recently on that end of the court. Wednesday night was a return to form, as they buckled down on a Miami team that torched them from beyond the arc in their previous meeting.

New York had given up an average of 118.8 points over its last four games entering Wednesday, a stretch that included three losses. The Knicks kept the pressure up from start to finish, limiting the Heat to just 92 points, their fewest allowed since Jan. 2.

Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, who combined for 57 points the last time out, didn’t have the same success. Butler was held to just 12 points, while Herro had 16 points, but shot just 2-of-10 from long range.

The Knicks found themselves in an early double-digit hole in the second quarter before they were able to use an 11-0 run to get back in the game. It was a back-and-forth battle from that point on, and there was a scare when Randle appeared to roll his ankle while grabbing a rebound. He landed on Bam Adebayo’s foot and went down.

Despite not being able to put much weight on his ankle or move without assistance, he willed himself to the free-throw line to attempt a foul shot, before checking out. He was declared out for the rest of the game at halftime.

The Knicks continued to battle, and Jalen Brunson drilled a buzzer-beating three to give the Knicks a 48-46 lead at the break.

It remained a close battle after the break, with both teams trading baskets in the third quarter. There was barely any separation until the Knicks went on a big 11-1 run fueled by Josh Hart, Quentin Grimes, and Immanuel Quickley.

The trio was integral to the winning effort, especially with Randle’s absence, RJ Barrett struggling and Brunson trying to shake off some rust.

They helped the Knicks pull away and hold on for the win. The Heat didn’t go away quietly though, and while they had their moments, they were unable to recover from that game-changing run.

New York’s defense never let up, and Quickley, Grimes, and Hart continued to deliver key minutes and plays.

Bench boost

Quickley, stepping up in light of injuries to his teammates, emerged at the forefront once again. He came off the bench and finished with a game-high 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting, with four assists and three steals. He also had a game-high plus-minus rating of +14.

Grimes also impressed and had 23 points, eight boards, four assists, and shot 5-of-10 from long range. Barrett and Brunson each had 12 points.

Hart provided another spark off the bench, chipping in 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting, with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Isaiah Hartenstein was an anchor in the post, adding six points, nine boards, two steals, and a block. Overall, the bench accounted for 49 of the team’s 101 points.

For Miami, Gabe Vincent led the way with 21 points. Herro had 16 points, while Butler chipped in 12. Duncan Robinson came off the bench and shot 4-of-6 from long range en route to a 12-point finish.

All eyes will be on Randle’s status coming down the stretch. In the meantime, it was a much-needed morale boost, as the Knicks found another way to win despite a key player going down. They’ll have a tough road game coming up against Cleveland on Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

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