Knicks’ poor defense on display again as team drops second straight; Heat move closer to 5th seed – The Mercury News



Knicks’ poor defense on display again as team drops second straight; Heat move closer to 5th seed – The Mercury News

The Knicks entered Miami-Dade Arena on a night the Heat and the NBA world continue to celebrate the life of Hall-of-Famer Willis Reed.

The Heat played a tribute pregame honoring the legend and the Knicks wore a black stripe on their jerseys to commemorate the former MVP that’s largely responsible for both of the Knicks’ championships.

Two days after a historic night that ended in a loss, the Knicks lose to the Heat, 127-120. Tom Thibodeau’s squad put up an offensive performance good enough to win but failed to stop Jimmy Butler, who finished with 35 points and nine assists.

For the second straight game, the Knicks struggled with an unlikely key contributor. Gabe Vincent lit the away team up early, shooting 3-for-5 from downtown and finishing with 19 points. Vincent got hot early, hitting his season’s scoring average (nine points) in the first quarter.

Jalen Brunson, as usual, kept the Knicks in the game. He finished with 25 points, six rebounds and six assists. The Knicks garnered a bunch of open looks due to the Heat doubling and sitting in zone defense during some possessions. They weren’t able to convert on those open looks early, but finished the game shooting 40% from deep.

The Knicks entered the fourth quarter down five but quickly took the lead after five straight buckets to open the period. The home team quickly responded, with the help of a three-point barrage from Tyler Herro and Max Strus, to extend the lead to 12 points. The two teams exchanged buckets in the fourth with Herro scoring 11 points in the final period.

The Knicks cut the lead to five with 42 seconds remaining, but their inability to get stops throughout the whole game resulted in a second straight loss.

The Heat scored with ease most of the night as the Knicks struggled defensively, like they did against the T-Wolves on Monday.

A game after allowing 140 points to a Timberwolves squad without their best players, Thibodeau’s team gave up 127 points to the Heat, who rank last in points per game (109) entering Wednesday. The Knicks allowed the Heat to shoot 57% on the night, an anomaly for a team that ranks 28th in three-point percentage.

Quentin Grimes had a bounce back game, playing aggressive and knocking down six treys after shooting just one shot last game. He finished with 22 points and was tasked with defending Butler on some possessions.

Julius Randle received a technical foul for a second straight game Wednesday after arguing a clear offensive foul in the third quarter on a dunk attempt. He failed to convert on two dunk attempts against the Heat after looking almost invincible while scoring 57 points Monday. Randle’s night ended with 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Before Wednesday, he averaged 33 points and 9.5 rebounds against the the Heat this season.

The Heat got their first win against the Knicks this season and are now tied with the Nets for the sixth seed and move within two games of the Knicks for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Spoelstra’s team will host the Nets on Saturday.

The Knicks will host the Heat next week, which poses to be another close contest. The Knicks won the first two matchups by a combined four points, getting a clutch bucket from Randle with a second remaining in the March matchup and sneaking away with a victory in February when Tyler Herro missed the last shot in regulation at Madison Square Garden.

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Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/03/22/knicks-poor-defense-on-display-again-as-team-drops-second-straight-heat-move-closer-to-5th-seed/

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