Knicks Lose Dogfight in Final Seconds. Eliminated. Miami 96 NY 92

It came down to Knicks ball with 30 seconds left — down 2 points at 92-90. Jalen Brunson — who had carried the Knicks on his back all night — came down and went to the right side; Miami double teamed — Brunson drove baseline and tried to feed Julius Randle inside — but Kyle Lowry intercepted.


NY was forced to foul and that was essentially the ballgame.

A DOGFIGHT of a game that went back and forth all night — the Knicks commanding early — up by 14 at one point in the 2nd half; but Miami coming back.

TOUGH DEFENSE for both sides; forcing both teams to turn in poor shooting numbers.

Brunson Herculian

Except Jalen Brunson — who was lights out and a man possessed — 41 points on 14-22 shooting (5-10 from 3) — penetrating and scoring and scoring each time down no matter what the vaunted Miami defense did.

Lowry the Difference Maker

But Kyle Lowry was the difference maker. His quick hands and defense taking away the dribble drive from Randle, and making key offensive and defensive plays all night.

“Kyle Lowry is such a crafty and winning player who continues making winning plays along with being an extension of a coach on the floor,” said NBA analyst Ross Kreines on Twitter. “Give credit to Erik Spoelstra who flat-out coaches, utilizes his players’ strengths, great adjustments and always gives the Heat a chance to win.”


“Congratulations to the Heat, to the organization, coaching staff, Spo and Pat Riley and all their players,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “They played tough in this series; hats off to them. But proud of our guys. Proud of the way this team worked all year. They improved daily. We got valuable experience in the playoffs. We learned a lot. And we need to use what we learned to move forward.”

“We were one of the final 8 teams,” furthered Thibs when asked. “And that’s not the goal — there’s a lot of work to be done and we know that. But at the end, there’ll be one team standing; there’ll be 29 others that have fallen short. We fell short. There’s disappointment but we have to look at it as, we learned a lot let’s use this as motivation to move forward and get better, and that’s what you have to do.”


“They’re aggressive, they’re crafty, and they’re relentless,” said coach Spoelstra early in the 4th about the Knicks. “They keep going and so it has to be a team effort to stop them.”

1. Knicks Commanded Early

The Knicks took command early, jumping out to a 31-17 lead. It looked like NY knew it was the better team, and wasn’t afraid or trepidatious of Miami anymore — as it had looked in game 1.

Jalen Brunson was scoring, and RJ Barrett was attacking and getting to the line — where he made ALL 8 of his free throws: 8-8.

Randle made a spectacular block on a fast-break layup and the Knicks had momentum.

Randle hit a tough J on the other end and NY was up 31-17.

But Miami crawled back in it: Kyle Lowry made free throws; Kyle Lowry hit a 3; Jimmy Butler made a bucket to slice the NY lead to 7 — 31-24 — at the end of the 1st quarter.

2. Miami Up by 1 at the Half

Bam Adebayo went nuts in the 2nd quarter to pull Miami even and then give them the lead. He was getting buckets inside or hitting 18 footers.

Toppin Energy and 3’s

Obi Toppin came in for the Knicks to give them a lift — grabbing a big rebound and hitting back-to-back 3’s.

Duncan Robinson hit a 3; Max Struss did made a bucket and free throws; Caleb Martin hit a drive-and-one — but there were lots of misses too. Brunson did the majority of scoring for the Knicks, helped by Barrett, Josh Hart and Toppin.

Barrett Picks up 3rd Foul on Questionable Call

Barrett picked up his 3rd foul with 4:29 left on a barely-touched-him call and went to the bench. That hurt the Knicks and killed his rhythm.

Brunson also picked up his 3rd foul on a very questionable call and he went to the bench with a few minutes left in the half.

Struss hit 2 free throws at the end of the quarter to put Miami up by 1 at the half.

3. Miami Up 3 After 3

The 3rd quarter was more dogfight. Julius Randle was aggressive — and kept getting fouls going to the bucket and hitting his free throws.

  • Randle hit a 3 to tie the game 56-56.

  • But Kevin Love hit a 3 down the other end, and then Jimmy Butler hit a jumper and Miami was up 5.
  • Butler hit free throws to put Miami up 7, but Josh Hart hit a 3 and Brunson a drive and it was a 2-pt game.

Back and Forth
  • Butler hit free throws; Randle countered with a drive and free throws.
  • Butler hit a drive; Josh Hart countered with a deuce.
  • Lowry hit a drive; Brunson countered with a drive.
  • Lowry hit another drive; Brunson countered with another drive.
Hart & Grimes Collide — Duncan Gets Another Try on 3

On a key play with 46 seconds left in the quarter — Duncan Robinson missed a 3 — and Josh Hart and Quentin Grimes were both on the rebound — but Collided! — and Lowry got the ball — fed Robinson again and this time he hit the 3!

“That one hurt my soul,” said @Alminn_V on Twitter.

Isaiah Hartenstein countered with a tip in — Miami 74 NY 71 after 3.

Back and forth.

4. Dogfight in 4th

The dogfight continued in the 4th.

  • Hartenstein continued a great stretch of play — blocking a Bam Adebayo layup from behind at start of the 4th.

  • Brunson free throws pulled NY to within a point, but a Caleb Martin 3 was a killer — Miami up 4.
  • Brunson free throws pulled NY back to within 2, and then there was a frenetic stretch where both teams went coast-to-coast on the other but couldn’t score against a manic defense — denying break-away shots at the rim.
A Chance to Tie
  • Finally Obi Toppin was fouled and went to the line with a chance to tie it, but missed the 2nd free throw. Miami 77 NY 76 with 8 minutes left.
Miami Mini Run
  • But Adebayo hit a 17-footer, Toppin missed a 3, and Struss hit a 3, and Miami was up 6.
  • Randle missed a 3 from the corner, and Butler hit a deuce and one and Miami had their biggest lead — up 9 with 6:25 left. Miami 85 NY 76.
  • NY and Brunson weren’t about to quit.
Brunson, Barrett, Randle Pull Knicks back
  • Brunson hit a pullup, and Barrett and then Randle both went to the hole for fouls and free throws; Barrett went 1-2; Randle 2-2 — and NY was back — down 85-81 with 4 minutes left.
  • But Kyle Lowry made a layup inside. Brunson countered with a 3.

  • Butler hit a deuce. Hart missed a 3 from the corner; Brunson missed a 3.
Mitch Hits CLUTCH Free Throws
  • Mitchell Robinson went to the line and hit both of 2 huge free throws to pull NY to within 90-86 with 1:24 left.
  • But Adebayo broke free for a dunk and when Julius Randle was called for an offensive foul on the other end, the Knicks looked cooked — down 92-86 with 59 seconds left and Miami ball.
Flagrant Foul on Miami Gives NY Life — Huge Turnaround
  • But on the inbounds — Struss hit Brunson across the face with an elbow — it was deemed a flagrant 1 — and Brunson hit 2 free throws and it was NY’s ball. A key turnaround.
  • Hart made a layup and it was a 92-90 game. Butler missed a J and NY had the ball with 30 seconds left and chance to tie.
The Chance to Tie with 16 Seconds Left
  • And that’s when Brunson drove right baseline against the double team and tried to pass to Randle but Lowry intercepted — with 16 seconds left.

After that NY was forced to foul — and Butler and then Struss hit their free throws.

5. Brunson Heroic

Brunson was heroic and Herculian. He took the Knicks on his back — scoring and scoring and scoring at will against the tough Miami defense.

“How’s that dude not an All-Star or All-NBA?” said Spoelstra afterwards about Brunson. “He should be on one of those teams; I wish he was still out West. He’s just an incredible competitor. We came in with some different ideas, to try and get the ball out of his hands — and he went to a different thing — 5 of 10 from 3. And that’s what great players do — they figure different things out.”

6. Randle, Barrett, & QGrimes Miss Shots

Randle, Barrett, and Quentin Grimes shot a combined 2-16 from 3. Randle was 1-7, Grimes 1-6, and Barrett 0-3.

Grimes defended Jimmy Butler well — Grimes only had 3 points in 32 minutes, but a +3.

Randle took the brunt of the hate on Knicks Twitter afterwards. He had just been named 3rd Team All NBA All Star before the game — but was only 3-14 from the floor (1-7 from 3; 8-9 in free throws) for 15 pts, 11 rebounds, 3 assists. He turned the ball over 3 times but was a +3. He could have shot better, but is not deserving of the hate by some Knick fans. Miami plays a TOUGH defense and they (and Lowry) keyed on Randle throughout the series.

Barrett was rolling until the early 3rd foul in the 2nd quarter sent him to the bench. He finished with 11 points on 1-10 shooting (8-9 in free throws). He was not happy with the way he played.

“I was very disappointed in how I played today,” said RJ afterwards. “I don’t know. It’s a lot right now. You fight for something you want so bad — and today I personally don’t think I played my best. It hurts but it’s good to have experiences like these to learn from them. They’re a very good team; very poised; and we can learn from it.”

7. Both Teams Poor from 3

While the Knicks were 10-35 from 3, Miami was worse — they were 7-27 from 3. It seemed that Max Struss, Gabe Vincent, and Duncan Robinson killed NY from 3 but it really wasn’t the case: Struss was 1-6 from 3, Vincent 1-5, and Robinson 2-7. Butler was 0-3 from 3.

A lot of that is due to the frenetic defense played by both teams — they both guard the 3 — getting out and then getting in.

The exception was Brunson who was 5-10 from 3. Lowry was 1-2 from 3, and Kevin Love 1-1.

8. Knicks Made their Free Throws; Rebounds Even

The Knicks made their free throws: 28-32 which is an impressive 87.5 % clip. Miami was 23-25, 92%.

The Knicks grabbed 41 rebounds; Miami had 40.

This was as close a game as you could have — a dogfight between two of the best defensive teams in the NBA coached by two of the best coaches.

If NY hits a couple of extra jumpers it’s a different story. NY could have used Immanuel Quickley as well.

The Boxscore

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