Quickley & DEFENSE Lead the Way. NY 101 Miami 92

Coming in it was billed as the most important game of the year so far for both teams — the Knicks holding onto the 5th playoff spot in the East and Miami breathing down their necks — having just beaten NY last Wednesday night. The intensity at Madison Square Garden was fever pitch — and the game tight throughout.

Julius Randle went out near the end of the 1st half with a badly sprained ankle, and Jalen Brunson, just back from a wrist injury, looked rusty.

But Knick DEFENSE took over in the 4th quarter and Immanuel Quickley led the way on offense as NY clamped down for the win.

Quickley, Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Josh Hart played the entire 4th quarter for the Knicks — all of them making hustle plays, big shots, and playing great defense — coach Tom Thibodeau going with the hot hand.

“We just had taken a 5-pt lead so I wanted to see where it would go,” said Thibs afterwards, who was poised to bring Jalen Brunson in. “I thought we just got into a good rhythm. We got on a run right there and we just rode it out. Some nights that’s just the way it is.”

The Heat had pulled to within 1.5 games of NY with the win 5 nights earlier, but then lost games to the Nets and Toronto while NY beat Houston — so with the win NY pulls to 4 games over Miami with 5 games left in the regular season. Brooklyn is in 6th place, 2.5 games behind the now 44-33 Knicks.

1. Knicks DEFENSE Did Job on Butler, Herro & Heat

It was a close game throughout — the two best defensive teams in the league playing their best defense in the playoff-intensity game.

Randle Went Down

Randle went down late in the 1st half with an ankle sprain — coming down after getting fouled by Bam Adebayo. Randle stayed in the game to shoot the free throws but was in obvious pain, and went to the locker room immediately after the free throws, not to return.

Knicks Take Lead at Half

Just before the half Mitchell Robinson came up with a HUGE BLOCK on Jimmy Butler — the Knicks took it down the other end — passed adroitly to wind down the halftime clock and found Jalen Brunson in the corner for a 3 to give NY a 48-46 lead at the half.

Game Tied After 3. And then Came the 4th

The game was tied 76-76 after 3.

And then came the 4th. The Knicks buckled down even more and started to break Miami’s resolve midway through the period.

NY was up 90-85 with 5:23 left when — as Thibs said — they went on a run, starting with a rebound by Josh Hart who took it all the way down for a dunk on the other end.

An Immanuel Quickley steal, picked up by Hartenstein led to a Quentin Grimes dunk and NY was up 9 at 94-85.

RJ Barrett hit a huge 3 with 2:13 left to put NY up 100-89. Barrett had a bad shooting night early — going 0 for his first 7 — but hit big shots on drives in the 4th to finish with 12 points on 4-13 shooting (2-6 from 3) with 5 rebounds in 34 minutes.

Barrett and Hart did a job on Tyler Herro — limiting Herro to 16 points on 6-16 shooting (2-10 from 3).

The Knicks also did a job on Bam Adebayo (9 pts) and Jimmy Butler.

Butler had only 12 pts on 5-10 shooting and was only 2-2 in free throws — the Knicks finally defended him without getting called for fouls and giving up a ton of free throws as they had in previous games. In the prior game against NY, Butler got 14 free throws, and in the game before that, 20 free throws.

Butler complained to the refs up until and after the final buzzer.

2. Quickley Led the Offense

Immanuel Quickley did another tremendous job — running the team in the 4th. Quick had 24 pts on 8-14 shooting (2-5 from 3, 6-11 in free throws), with 4 assists, 3 steals, and a +14.

Quick hit a MOON SHOT in the 1st half — shooting one over the backboard while getting fouled on the baseline — and it rolled in.

3. Grimes Great

Quentin Grimes was Quickley’s primary scoring sidekick — hitting 3’s from the corner and penetrating for scores. He had 23 pts on 8-14 shooting (5-10 from 3).

4. Hart & Hartenstein Huge

Isaiah Hartenstein played a tremendous 4th quarter — clogging the middle, defending, rebounding, making hustle plays, and passes on offense. He shut down Adebayo and had 6 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, a block and a +12.

And Josh Hart made all the Hustle plays, defended well, drove for whirlwind baskets, and hit big 3’s — he had 13 pts on 6-7 shooting, with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a +12 in 29 minutes.


  • It was Walt Frazier‘s birthday. He turned 78. RJ Barrett presented him with a gift on behalf of the Knick team before the game. Frazier said after the game that the win was a great birthday gift.

The prior 3 games against Miami this year were:

The Boxscore


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