The Knicks defeated the Miami Heat 122-120 on Friday night for their eighth straight win thanks to a Julius Randle game-winning three-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining.
New York let a 17-point lead melt away in the second half, but Randle, who finished with 43 points on 16-for-25 shooting (8-for-13 from three) with nine rebounds and three assists, would not be denied. .
Here are the takeaways…
– On the game’s opening possession, Randle and the Heat’s Bam Adebayo, one of the league’s top defenders, banged into each other hunting for position. But while the opening encounter of the two big men resulted in a stalemate before Randle missed a 25-foot stepback, the battle was won by Randle as he scored 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting (4-for-6 from behind the arc) in the opening period. On the other end, Adebayo managed just two points on 1-for-5 shooting with just one rebound.
– While the game had pace at the time with both teams looking to get up the court quickly, the flow of the quarter soon ground to a halt with both teams living at the line: The Knicks went 7-for–11 and the Heat 9 -for-10, with Jimmy Butler making seven of his eight attempts.
But the game flow would soon favor the visitors, as the Heat’s inability to make jumpers led to the Knicks closing the opening period on a 16-5 run over the final four minutes to take a 37-30 lead.
– And that quick pace of play continued in the early going of the second quarter with Immanuel Quickley knocking down a pair of threes that led to an Erik Spoelstra timeout. Quickley would score the Knicks’ first 10 points of the quarter. Barrett would have a similar scoring stretch, making four-straight baskets to give New York a 15-point lead and force another Spoelstra timeout with just under six minutes to play in the half.
After keeping the Heat off the free-throw line for the first eight minutes of the second quarter, Butler made five-straight at the line (including a technical free throw after Josh Hart was whistled) and Miami cut the lead to under 10. But the Knicks had answers in the form of more Randle 5-0 run in the form of a driving layup before knocking down yet another three over the outstretched arm of Adebayo from the right elbow -extended spot on the floor.
– New York shot 26-for-41 (63.4 percent) from the floor and 10-for-22 (45.5 percent) from behind the arc in the first half and held Miami to 40 percent from the floor to build a 71-56 lead .
– After being held to just four points in the first half, Adebayo woke up after the half, scoring 10 points in the first three minutes as part of a 12-2 run that cut the Knicks’ lead to 73-66. The Heat continued to punish the Knicks inside with Adebayo and Butler and outside with Tyler Herro and Kevin Love connecting from deep cut the lead to just five, Randle answered a gain with a three and then found Brunson for a corner three to put the Knicks back up 11 with just under five remaining in the quarter.
The Heat defense tightened holding the Knicks to 10-for-22 from the floor and 4-for-13 from three and they found their shooting touch to outscore New York 32-25 in the third, but the Knicks entered the fourth up by eight .
– Caleb Martin cut the New York lead to three two minutes into the fourth, but Quickley responded with an 8-3 spurt by himself, knocking down a pair of big threes. But the Heat would take the lead with 5:45 to play when Martin’s three-pointer capped a 9-0 run, but Brunson answered with a floater before a controversial out-of-bounds call on Love led to a Mitchell Robinson dunk, his first points of the game, to put the Knicks back up by three.
Butler corralled his sixth offensive rebound and put in the layup for his 33rd point of the game at 116 with 1:04 to play forcing a Knicks timeout. But the Knicks had the answer, Randle took the inbound and went to work on Abedayo before hitting a 14-foot baseline fadeaway and-1.
After two at the line from Herro following a foul by Quickley, Randle turned from hero to goat by dribbling into pressure and allowing Herro to steal and score a layup to put the Heat up 120-119 with 23 seconds to play.
But Randle would ultimately be the true hero Friday night. After fumbling the ball and nearly turning it over again with Butler reaching in, he managed to set his feet and nail a 26-foot heave from that same right elbow extended spot over Herro to give the Knicks a 122-120 win.
– Efficiency was the name for the Knicks’ other high scorers with Brunson finishing with 25 points on 9-for-14 shooting, Barrett scored 17 on 8-for-15 shooting, and Quickley added 21 from the bench on 7-for-11 shooting.
– Off the bench, Hart and Isaiah Hartenstein combined for just nine points and committed seven fouls, but the pair added 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block. In 33 minutes, Hart was a plus-16, and in 15 minutes Hartentstein was a plus-22.
– This is the second eight-game winning streak for New York this season. The last time a Knicks team had two eight-game winning streaks in a season? 1972-73, when the same season they last won a title, per SNY’s Ian Begley.
-In the third quarter, Robinson came up holding his right knee after he blocked a Butler, he stayed in the game but was walking with a slight limp. Minutes later, after contesting another Butler missed layup, Brunson went down hard and stayed down under the Knicks’ basket during the ensuing possession. Brunson would return in the fourth after getting his ankle wrapped during a trip to the locker room.
– It was the second straight game the Knicks scored at least 70 points in the first half, the first time they have done so since Nov. 18-19, 1988, both games against Philadelphia. Coincidentally, this was the first time the Heat allowed at least 70 points in the first half in back-to-back games in their 35 seasons, after allowing 71 points in the first half on Wednesday also against Philadelphia.
The Knicks wrap up the two-game road trip Sunday night in Boston against the Celtics with a 7:30 pm tip.