Historic Comeback. NY 100 Miami 98

Down 19 points to the defending Eastern champ and rival Miami Heat early in the 4th quarter, the Knicks staged a historic comeback — outscoring Miami 29-8 from that point on to win 100-98 at a frenetic Madison Square Garden on a Friday night.

Friday night Knicks!

Immanuel Quickley triggered the comeback by reigning 3’s, and then Jalen Brunson took over down the stretch with HUGE bucket after HUGE bucket. RJ Barrett came up with huge buckets also, and the Knick DEFENSE clamped down; everyone played tough, clutch basketball.

Miami had taken command of a tight game that the Knicks led at the half, by scoring the first 19 points of the 3rd quarter, as NY kept turning the ball over — some due to Miami’s tough defense and some unforced; the Knicks seemingly trying too hard. Miami led by 21 points late in the 3rd.

But NY turned it around in the 4th — a HUGE win that will give the Knicks confidence that will last into the playoffs — knowing they can spot Miami 20 points and still beat them late.

“They hit us pretty hard to start the 3rd,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “But we responded — we hit back. And the result ended up being positive for us.”

“The 1st half I think we played ok except the turnovers were bothersome — and that was a big concern,” detailed Thibodeau. “And then we started off the 3rd the same way; turning it over. The end of the 3rd we got our defense going a little bit. The activity got us into the open floor. Mitch made a big steal; Quick made a big 3; we had another stop. We got it to 14 and it gave us a little momentum. Once we got it inside 10 our defense in the 4th was really good; we stopped turning the ball over. Jalen hit some timely shots late.”

“I liked how we fought,” continued Thibs. “I thought RJ got going in the 4th; Quick was huge for us — he gave us life. The bench gave us a spark; Isaiah gave us good minutes. Mitch getting in foul trouble early hurt us, so we have to figure that part out a little bit better.”

NY improves to 9-6 and is still alive in the in-season tournament (they would have been eliminated had they lost). Miami drops to 10-6.

1. Knicks Led by a Point at the Half

The 1st half was a hard-fought, back-and-forth affair where the teams traded blows — NY jumping out to a 10-1 lead, Miami coming right back to take a 16-12 lead, and then in the 2nd quarter Miami pulling out to a 5-point lead, but the Knicks coming right back.

A Quentin Grimes 3 at the buzzer gave the Knicks a 1-point lead at the half, 51-50.

2. Miami Scores First 19 Points to Start 3rd

Then came the start of the 3rd, where the Knicks kept turning the ball over, leading to Miami fast breaks. Julius Randle was a main culprit — ending the evening with 6 turnovers. Some of it was unforced, and some of it had to do with the Miami defense — which is one of the best defenses in the NBA.

Miami took a 69-51 lead before a Mitchell Robinson free throw finally ended the Knick drought — raising a Bronx cheer from the midtown Manhattan MSG audience.

Jimmy Butler was doing his thing (23 pts on 7-14 shooting), Bam Adebayo (21 pts) was scoring on drives, Haywood Highsmith was hitting 3’s, and rookie (and #18 pick in the June draft) Jamie Jaquez Jr was moving without the ball, scoring, passing — doing a lot of things to open up the Miami offense.

The Knicks seemed to be trying too hard against the tough Miami defense, and kept turning the ball over.

“The thing that hurt were 19 turnovers for 25 points; you have to overcome that,” said Thibs afterwards. “They’re an active team; they get steals. There were a lot of good plays that we made — we kept trying to thread the needle instead of hitting the first open man; you have to hit the first open man.”

3. Robinson Steal Ignites the Fire

Right after Mitchell Robinson made the free throw to give NY its first point of the 3rd quarter, Robinson stole a pass and fed Jalen Brunson for a drive to make it 69-54 Miami. According to Thibodeau, this was the first key play of the comeback.

A Quentin Grimes steal on next play resulting in an RJ Barrett drive put NY within 69-56 with 6:20 left in the 3rd.

4. Quickley Energizes Comeback

Despite that — Miami built their lead back to 83-62 on scores by Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, and Jaime Jaquez Jr.

But Immanuel Quickley triggered the next stage of the comeback:

Isaiah Hartenstein made a huge block on a breakaway and fed Quickley who hit a 3 with 3:19 left — a huge 5-pt turnaround.

  • Quick hit another 3 with 1:09 left in the quarter to pull NY to within 85-71 — hope.
  • But Jimmy Butler made a layup at the end of the 3rd to put Miami back up 16, and Josh Richardson hit a 3 at the start of the period to put Miami back up 19.
  • And then Quickley went to work some more. A 3 with 10:02 left pulled NY back within 16, and a Donte DiVincenzo 3 30 seconds later made it 89-77.
  • Quick hit another drive next time down and NY was within 10.

“Immanuel Quickley changed the game with his ability to create his own offense whether stretching the floor or breaking you off the bounce along with forcing his tempo and playing at his pace,” said NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Also, he got into and after it defensively, good job hedging over screens and he competes.”

  • The Knick defense intensified. An Isaiah Hartenstein steal and RJ Barrett 3 pulled NY to within 7. Ballgame on.

  • A Josh Hart tip-in and then another Quickley 3 and NY was within 6 with 5 minutes left.

5. Knick DEFENSE & Brunson Down the Stretch

But Josh Richardson hit a 3 to put Miami back up by 9 points. NY timeout. Julius Randle came back into the game — amidst Knick fan derision on Twitter since his turnovers were part of the Knick 3rd quarter collapse, and the comeback all happened with him off the court.

But Randle was part of the team effort in the last 4 minutes that resulted in the win — he was part of the torrid Knick defense and pulled down 3 huge rebounds.

And NY was still charging like a bull.

  • RJ Barrett hit a pullup and it was, Miami 96-89.
  • And then down the stretch, Jalen Brunson took over.
  • A Brunson drive in traffic — and 1 — pulled NY to within 96-91.
  • A Brunson shimmy-shake move and floater in the lane — and 1 — made it 96-94 with 2:20 left.
  • Knick Defense forced Jimmy Butler to miss and RJ Barrett took it to the rim down the other end for a drive and 1 — tying the game and then giving NY the lead as he hit nothing but net on the free throw.
  • Jasquez then was forced into a miss and Brunson came down and hit another MONEY jumper after a move in the lane for a 99-96 NY lead with 1:24 left.

  • Isaiah Hartenstein then denied Bam Adebayo of a driving dunk — playing phenomenal defense and causing Adebayo to miss the dunk — Randle rebounding.

Randle pulled down several huge rebounds in the final minutes.

  • Brunson was intentionally fouled with 11 seconds left — and made one of 2 free throws put NY up 100-98.
  • That left it up to one final possession for Miami — Jimmy Butler missing a step-back corner 3 at the buzzer for a Knick win.

Brunson highlights:

The Boxscore



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