Yabba Dabba Doo!! NY 106 Miami 104

In a FRENETIC FINISH, the Knicks went up by 5 points with 5 seconds left on a Julius Randle SLAM at the end of a WILD play across the length of the court — NY stealing the ball back after their own turnover against Miami pressure.

“Yabba Dabba Doo!!” exalted Walt Frazier on the tv, as he and Mike Breen had been talking Flinstones all 4th quarter, discussing the name of the dinosaur (Dino), Betty, and Fred, and comparing the show to today’s cartoons. In between the torrid action on the court.

But with the Knicks up by 5 with 5 seconds left — Miami hit a 3 and the Knicks fucked up the inbounds with 2 seconds left as Randle slipped and fell against pressure from Bam Adebayo.

Miami ran the final play with 2.1 seconds left, and Tyler Herro shot a 3 from the corner at the buzzer for a Miami win.. and missed. RJ Barrett and Julius Randle converging to defend and force him deep into the corner.

Heart attacks all around but a HUGE Knicks win against a good Miami team on a Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

“I thought the effort was really good; strong,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “Miami has been playing really well for a while so I knew it was going to be a good test. I liked the way our guys responded. Particularly down two starters, you have to play well throughout to win.”

Jalen Brunson was out with a non-COVID illness — and his absence contributed to two failed inbounds passes by NY in the final minute. Before the game the All Star reserves were named — Julius Randle was named an All Star; Brunson was robbed.

NY improves to 28-25 with the win; Miami falls to 29-24.

1. That Frenetic Final Minute

The turnover that caused the frenetic full-court play was by RJ Barrett, against Miami pressure — and Barrett also turned the ball over a few plays earlier with 54 seconds left and the Knicks nursing a 3-pt lead — which allowed Miami to pull to within 1 point after Bam Adebayo made free throws after being fouled on the resulting breakaway.

  • [NOTE: after this article was originally written, the NBA came out with its 2-Minute report on this game, and said Randle was fouled by Adebayo on the inbounds — “Adebayo wraps an arm around Randle’s opposite side, affecting his Freedom Of Movement” — so it should not have been a turnover by Barrett, or Miami’s ball or points even. The play is here.]

But NY came back with an Isaiah Hartenstein DUNK off a nifty Quentin Grimes pass to regain a 104-101 lead.

Then came the frenetic full-court play described above that ended in a Randle DUNK and seeming win.

And Frazier made his call.

But with 5 seconds left Max Strus came off a screen and nailed a 3 and it was a game again — causing the further tumult described above.

2. Barrett Led NY with 30 Points

RJ Barrett more than made up for his two* turnovers in the final minute (*actually one see 2-Minute report mentioned above) by being the Knicks hero of the game — with a STRONG 2nd half. He drove to the basket at will — and Miami has the toughest interior defense in the NBA according to some defensive stats.

But Barrett found openings and made it look easy at times — taking it to Jimmy Butler, overpowering Tyler Herro, and scooting past Bam Adebayo.


Barrett was coming off a game where he did not play at the end of the 4th or in OT because Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley were playing so well — and he made up for it — coming out charging from the gate. Barrett had 30 points on 13-22 shooting, and 8 rebounds — although he didn’t hit his 3 (0-5 from 3). He was 13-17 inside the paint.

“Very aggressive from the start,” said Thibs afterwards about Barrett. “At the start of the game his defense was very good; strong, and his aggressiveness going to the basket was huge for us.”

3. Back and Forth Game

The Knicks led from the gate but Miami came back and took a 5 point lead in the 2nd quarter, before the Knicks regrouped and took back the lead by 3 points at the half.

The 3rd quarter was the same thing — the Knicks came out strong and took a 14-pt lead midway thru the quarter, but Miami came back to take a 3-point lead before NY regrouped and counterattacked to take an 8-point lead, and enter the 4th up by 5.

The regrouping was done by the Knicks 2nd team of Miles McBride, Obi Toppin, Evan Fournier, Hartenstein, and RJ Barrett.

Fournier’s good play started with a nice full court pass — and then he started playing defense. Before that he had been looking hesitant on the court which caused Knick fan Weeez88 to observe “Evan Fournier has done nothing but miss shots, foul, and get in the fuckin way.” The tweet of the night.

4. McBride & Obi & the 2nd Team Lead NY

The Knicks continued to take it to Miami at start of the 4th — upping the lead to 9 points before Miami started their comeback.

Miles McBride starred for the Knicks — making three 3-pointers and attacking the Miami defense. Obi Toppin scored 7 points in 14 minutes.

And Isaiah Hartenstein played Great all evening again — 8 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, and an assist in 29 minutes with the 2nd team and the 1st team.

“Particularly the end of the 3rd, start of the 4th — I thought that was a big lift,” said Thibs about the 2nd team. “I thought that was a big part of the game — especially in giving the starters a rest. Evan played well, Deuce played really well, Obi really played well, and obviously RJ was in there with them, and Isaiah as well — that stretch was critical for our game — gave us some breathing room.”

Jericho Sims started the game and was on the court when NY raced out to an early double-digit lead. In the end he played 19 minutes — with 0 points and only 2 rebounds but had a +16.

5. Randle an All Star

And of course there was Julius Randle — named an All Star before the game. Randle started off on fire — and then Miami adjusted and doubled him — so he fed Knicks with assists in the 2nd half. He finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists. Some of his assists were terrific — finding QGrimes in the corner — outlined by Wally Szczerbiak on the post game.

6. Quick at the Point

With Brunson out, Immanuel Quickley played the point and did well — 8 pts on 3-8 shooting (2-4 from 3), 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in 37 minutes.

7. Adebayo Starred for Miami

Bam Adebayo was a tough cover for NY all evening — hitting fade away jumpers, Slams, and everything else inside. He had 32 points on 11-16 shooting, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block. He was named an All Star Reserve before the game as well, and played the part.

Tyler Herro had a quiet evening until the 4th when he made jumpers and finished with 25 points on 10-22 shooting, with 8 assists. He’s a walking bucket on the offensive end but a liability on Defense as he looked small and offered little resistance to RJ Barrett.


Mitchell Robinson remains out for NY after the sprained thumb and surgery, and should still be out another week and a half to two weeks. He was the other starter that Thibodeau referred to as missing.

The game was played on Ground Hog day — which led Knick fan John Morra to observe: “If Knicks can win on Groundhog Day they may be able to repeat win over and over like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day the movie.” If Knicks repeat this frenetic win every game for the rest of the season they will have an exhausted fan base with many virtual heart attacks.

The Boxscore




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