Jimmy Butler had 27 points and 10 assists, Bam Adebayo finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds and the Miami Heat moved within a win of their third trip to the Eastern Conference finals in four years by beating the New York Knicks. 109-101 on Monday night.
Max Strus scored 16 points, Kyle Lowry added 15 and Caleb Martin had 10 for the Heat. Miami, the No. 8 seed, leads the East semifinal series 3-1, with Game 5, and the first potential clincher, waiting in New York on Wednesday night.
Jalen Brunson finished with 32 points and 11 assists for fifth-seeded New York, while RJ Barrett had 24 points and Julius Randle scored 20 for the Knicks before fouling out with about three minutes remaining.
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Miami missed 12 of their first 15 shots of the fourth quarter, but the Knicks didn’t make the most of it, cutting just three points off the Heat’s lead in that span. It was nine before the quarter, and a pair of free throws by Brunson with 4:40 remaining gave New York a 99-93 lead.
But a thump from Martin breathed some life into a restless building, and the roars grew a little louder a minute or so later. With the Knicks down seven, Randle entered the lane, but Strus hit him on the spot, setting up the contact that became the New York star’s sixth foul with 3:08 remaining, and the Heat kept control the rest of the way. of the way
The Knicks never led in Game 3, then held the lead twice in Game 4.
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They had a pair of one-point leads in the first quarter, by a combined 33 seconds, and Miami erased the deficits with immediate baskets on their next possession.
But unlike Game 3, when Miami’s lead was in double digits for nearly the entirety of the final three quarters, this one remained in doubt for much of the way. Miami didn’t get its first 10-point lead until a 3-pointer by Strus with 3:23 left in the half, and every time the Heat looked ready to pull away, New York had an answer.
The Knicks cut what was an 11-point deficit to 67-65 on Barrett’s 3-pointer with 7:07 remaining in the third, but never got over the hump. An 8-1 run in a two-minute stretch late in the third restored the 11-point lead, and Miami’s cushion was 90-81 entering the fourth.
Knicks: Immanuel Quickley, who sprained his left ankle late in Game 3, is out. His status for Game 5 is unclear and appears as day-to-day. … New York changed its starting lineup, with Quentin Grimes, who was celebrating his 23rd birthday, replacing Josh Hart. … The Knicks gave up six offensive rebounds in the first three quarters combined, then gave up six more in the fourth alone.
Heat: Adebayo had seven field goals in the first half. Five were dunks, marking the first time in his 473 NBA games that he had so many before halftime. … The 7-2 postseason start matches the fifth-best in Heat history. They went 8-1 in 2005, 2013, 2014 and 2020, reaching the NBA Finals in the most recent three instances. … Butler was questionable with his right ankle, even though he played in Game 3, and it wasn’t announced that he would play until about an hour before kickoff Monday. … Miami missed four 3-pointers on one possession early in the fourth quarter.
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The win was the 103rd playoff win for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. He becomes the third coach with as many playoff wins with one team; Gregg Popovich has 170 with San Antonio and Phil Jackson has 118 with the Los Angeles Lakers and 111 with Chicago.
Pat Riley, the Heat president, Spoelstra’s boss and his predecessor as Heat coach, won 102 with the Lakers.
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The Heat have a chance to reach the Eastern finals on Wednesday, just like the NHL team from South Florida. The Florida Panthers lead their second-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0, with Game 4 of that matchup in Sunrise, Florida on Wednesday night.