Another Game Without Randle & OG. Another Loss. Miami 109 NY 99

It was yet another game without Julius Randle and OG Anunoby, and yet another hard fought loss for the Knicks — who came back from a 12-point deficit early in the 4th quarter to tie the game at 92 with 3:59 left — only to lose 109-99 in Miami on a Tuesday night.

Haywood Highsmith, Terry Rozier Jr, and Bam Adebayo made big buckets down the stretch for Miami, and the Knicks didn’t match it.

One begins to wonder if the Knicks will ever see Randle or Anunoby again this season — and if they do, if it will be too late, as the team may not have enough time to acclimate to their return.

Miami played a physical defense on Jalen Brunson all night, limiting him to 20 points on 5-18 shooting. Brunson passed for 10 assists, and was 9-10 from the free throw line, but coach Tom Thibodeau felt more fouls should have been called.

“We played from behind; they went on a run; Rozier got real hot on us,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “We fought, played well I thought in the 2nd half, and fell short at the end.”

On Brunson’s poor shooting night, Thibs added: “It says 10 free throws, but he’s getting fouled. I hate to say it, but it’s really that simple. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled.”

NY loses it’s 3rd in a row and drops to 44-31. Miami improves to 42-33.

1. Miami Jumps Out to 34-22 Lead in 1st

Miami made a tremendous acquisition at the trade deadline January 23rd, by picking up Terry Rozier from Charlotte for Kyle Lowry and a 2027 1st round draft pick. Rozier has been a perfect addition to the Heat, providing them with firepower in the back court, playing alongside Jimmy Butler.

Rozier is averaging 16.1 ppg with Miami since the trade; he was averaging 23.1 with Charlotte as their primary scorer.

Rozier helped Miami jump out to a 34-22 lead in the 1st quarter, hitting a deuce and three 3’s.

2. Miami Up by 15 at the Half

NY sliced into the lead at the start of the 2nd quarter — pulling to within 36-31 on scoring by Bogdan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Miles McBride.

But with the score 42-36, Jimmy Butler hit consecutive J’s, and Bam Adebayo scored inside and just like that Miami was up 12 again.

Terry Rozier added to the scoring and Miami upped their lead to 15 at the half on a Rozier 3 and Highsmith tip in with a second left in the half.

Highsmith hurt the Knicks all night with 14 points off the bench on 6-11 shooting. He is a 27-year-old, 6’7 forward who was undrafted but was a Pat Riley find and has been coming off the Miami bench the last 3 years.

“Haywood Highsmith stays ready, knows his role and earns his minutes with his effort, activity, gets after you defensively, does the little things, rebounds along with his slashing/cutting and improved jumper,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Erik Spoelstra will put you in position to succeed.”

3. McBride & DiVincenzo Pull Knicks Back In It

Miami concentrated their defense on Jalen Brunson all night, forcing him into a poor shooting game. But after a Hartenstein J began the 3rd quarter, Brunson started drawing fouls on drives to the bucket, while Miles McBride and Donte DiVincenzo picked up their share of the scoring.

McBride made 3 drives and DiVincenzo hit two 3’s and a J in the quarter to help pull NY back to 10 points down. McBride finished with 24 pts on 9-16 shooting (4-8 from 3), and DiVincenzo had 31 pts on 11-21 shooting (6-15 from 3).

For Miami, Bam Adebayo dominated the quarter inside — with 2 drives, a dunk, and two free throws for 8 points.

Hartenstein was active with his hands — and picked up several steals in the period — but was not grabbing rebounds as he normally does. Mitchell Robinson replaced him with 5 minutes left in the quarter — and Hartenstein never returned to the game.

4. Knicks Tie It Down Stretch But Can’t Close It

Precious Achiuwa played center the entire 4th quarter, and Bogdan Bogdanovic was at power forward.

  • Caleb Martin hit a 3 to start the quarter, putting Miami up 13 — but Donte DiVincenzo immediately countered with a 3 and NY was back within 10.
  • Martin and DiVincenzo traded two more buckets and NY was down 11 with 7:21 left.

But NY made a run.

  • Brunson hit a floater and then made free throws after being fouled on a drive, and McBride nailed a 3 and NY was within 92-88 with 5:53 left.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic sliced to the bucket for a score, and Precious Achiuwa tipped in a McBride miss to tie the game at 92-92 with 3:59 left.

That’s when Haywood Highsmith — again — hurt the Knicks — hitting a rally-stopping 3 to put Miami up 95-92 with 3:48 left.

Bogdonavic hit a drive to pull NY within 1, but Rozier was fouled by Precious Achiuwa while taking a 3, and hit all 3 free throws, and Miami had momentum back.

  • Brunson missed a drive, and Bam Adebayo made a tip in down the other end, then Brunson lost the ball off his foot on a drive, and Jimmy Butler made a J down the other end and Miami was up 102-94 with 1:52 left to take full command.
  • DiVincenzo and Brunson got buckets for the Knicks in the final minute but Miami had answers — buckets by Rozier and Adebayo and a slam by Highsmith for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore

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