NBA Refs Give the Heat Game 4. Miami 109 NY 101

The Knicks played Hard. Miami played Hard.

Miami shot well from outside, did the little things like just getting to many loose-ball secondary rebounds, and the NBA refs gave them the final push — with some really questionable calls — especially two on Julius Randle late in the game — to enable Miami to gain the 109 to 101 win.

“As far as officiating, that was one of the toughest games I’ve been a part of,” said Julius Randle afterwards. “Usually the physicality in the playoffs is up. I had 6 fouls and maybe 4 of them were offensive fouls, maybe 5 — that’s never happened to me in my career. That’s tough.”

But it wasn’t just the refs. Miami also grabbed key secondary rebounds, and hit key shots from outside throughout the evening. Max Strus especially, killed NY by going 4-10 from 3. Kevin Love hit 2 key 3’s. And Kyle Lowry had another heady game with 15 key buckets.

“They got offensive rebounds; loose balls,” said RJ Barrett afterwards. “They got some tough guys that get respect. Give them credit they work it hard. You got guys falling every possession getting calls; they’re getting rebounds. They’re playing hard; we played hard as well. I think in the 4th those rebounds hurt us.”

NY is now down 3 games to 1 with game 5 in NY.

1. Key Ref Calls Kill Knicks

With 5:28 left, Julius Randle grabbed an offensive rebound and cleanly scored inside and one — a 3-pt play — but the foul was called on him — offensive — and Kyle Lowry shot free throws the other end. He made 1 but that 4-pt turnaround was huge.

At 3:08 left with the Knicks down 7, Randle powered home for a clean bucket inside — but again was incredulously called for an offensive foul. Considering the physicality of the game, it was a hard call to fathom and had Knicks twitter howling.

The offensive fouls on Randle were killer, but there others — earlier in the 3rd, Jalen Brunson drew a foul on Stus who pushed him down with a forearm but Brunson was called for an offensive foul, and near the end Josh Hart got hit in the face with an elbow and the foul was called on him.

In a game were Miami was exerting physicality, the calls seemed inconsistent.

2. Miami Jumped Ahead in 2nd Quarter

Miami jumped out to a 15-9 lead but the Knicks fought back to take the lead 30-29 just before the end of the 1st quarter.

But Miami started hitting outside shots and pulled ahead in the 2nd quarter to take a 10-pt lead just before the half. Bam Adebayo was active and Max Strus hit two key 3’s and a dunk.

3. Miami Kept Knicks at Bay in 3rd

The Knicks came at Miami hard in the 3rd quarter, but Miami kept them at bay.

Every time the Knicks closed, someone on Miami — like Kevin Love — seemed to hit a key jumper from 3.

Julius Randle attacked and scored; Miami countered.

NY was down 9 entering the 4th.

4. Knicks Couldn’t Get Even in 4th

RJ Barrett stepped up — making some Huge drives and hitting 3’s in the 4th. But Miami kept staying ahead — grabbing key offensive rebounds and scoring. The Knicks just couldn’t break through.

The Knicks pulled to within 6 multiple times — but then would come a key officiating call against them — like the offensive fouls on Randle. Or the Knicks would play great D, but Miami would gain the secondary offensive rebound and score anyway.

“Sometimes loose balls — you always say they’re 50-50 balls — but they’re not always 50-50 balls,” said Josh Hart afterwards. “Sometimes they bounce in your direction; sometimes they bounce in their direction. I think we could have probably rebounded the ball better especially in the 3rd and 4th quarter when we were getting stops. But sometimes it’s just how the ball bounces.”

5. Miami is a Very Good Team

“You got to give them a lot of credit, they have a lot of experience over there,” said Jalen Brunson afterwards. “They just played better than us. We didn’t do enough within the 48 minutes.”

“They’re sticking to their game plan, added Brunson. “They’re playing really physical. They’ve been getting offensive rebounds and second-chance points. You just have to give them a lot of credit; well coached over there.”

Miami is not just any 8 seed — they destroyed Milwaukee, which had the best record in the NBA — 4 games to 1 in the 1st round. Miami won 53 games last year and was a play away of beating Boston in game 7 — the Celtic team that went to the finals. In 2020 Miami went to the finals.

“Every Heat player knows their role, competes hard on both ends and plays through every possession,” noted NBA analyst Ross Kreines on Twitter. “And Erik Spoelstra plays a big part in that.”

6. Knicks Played Hard & Played Well

The Knicks lost — but they played hard and they played well; just not well enough against this Miami team and they were Killed by the Ref calls.

  • RJ Barrett had a Big game — he played bully ball in the 4th coming up big when the Knicks needed him. He drove to the basket with aggression and was efficient in scoring drives and he hit his 3. Barrett had 26 pts on 9-16 shooting (3-5 from 3; 3-3 in free throws). A really terrific playoff performance by him.

  • Jalen Brunson had a game-high 32 points on 10-21 shooting (2-7 from 3; 10-11 in free throws).

  • Julius Randle played great — 20 points on 8-13 shooting (1-4 from 3; 3-5 in free throws) with 9 rebounds in 39 minutes. If he had gotten calls — instead of getting offensive foul calls — he would have had a huge night. Instead — Knicks twitter smashed him, pointing out a couple of plays were he let a guy go on offense — ‘snippet analysis’ — showing a single play out of 39 minutes irregarding the fact Randle was trying not to foul as he was in foul trouble.

  • Quentin Grimes played well — 42 very active minutes defending Jimmy Butler. Butler finished with 28 points anyway.
  • Mitchell Robinson had some terrific moments with block shots and slams — but overall had trouble with Bam Adebayo (23 pts on 10-17 shooting) — although some of Adebayo’s shots came when Robinson was rotating.

“I think we were playing a little too fast,” said Quentin Grimes afterwards. “Then kind of settled down a little bit. I feel like the crowd kind of helped them a little bit. They were kind of firing in certain positions, throwing random traps to get us out of our offense. We need to slow it down and play our game.”

The Boxscore

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