Jimmy Butler leads Heat to a 3-1 series lead over Knicks

May 9, 2023

Jimmy Butler had 27 points and ten assists on Game 4 as the host Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks 109-101 to take a 3-1 lead in the semifinal series of the Eastern Conference.

Eighth-seeded Miami in the Eastern Conference is on course for its best record in the seven-game series with a win in New York on Thursday.

The Heat also had 23 points and 13 rebounds from Bam Adebayo.

Miami beat fifth-seeded New York the entire game, winning the offensive rebounding battle 13-8. The Heat also had a 22-15 advantage in turnover points, while Miami dropped the ball faster.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said his team now benefits from the resilience that developed during the regular season when they force to make the playoffs.

“We found value in the grind, grind, and struggle of the regular season,” Spoelstra said.

“Without that kind of struggle, we’ve got to find different solutions to win, other people come forward in those moments, and if we don’t do that in the regular season, you’re in the playoffs. The chances of doing this are zero.

“There’s nothing easy in the regular season and nothing easy in the playoffs. But if you can master it, it makes you stronger collectively.”

Jalen Brunson led the New York Knicks with 32 points & 11 assists, both game-highs. Brunson’s performance included a corner 3-pointer in the second quarter.

Knicks guard/forward RJ Barrett had 24 points. Julius Randle had 20 points and nine rebounds after fouling out with 3:08 left, but he also committed a game-high six turnovers.

New York’s Immanuel Quickley finished second in NBA Sixth Man of the Year voting but missed the game with a sprained left ankle.

His absence led to several changes for the Knicks. Grimes returned to the starting lineup, Hart resumed his key backup role, and Miles McBride joined the rotation.

Miami led 31-30 after the first quarter when Kyle Lowry hit a mid-range jumper with 0.5 seconds left. New York shot 60 percent from the field during the stretch, going 3-for-7 from 3-point range. Miami shot 54.5 percent from the field, including 4 of 9.

Miami led by 11 points in the second quarter, leading 56-48 at halftime. Adebayo led all first-half scorers with 16 pts. For the Knicks, Brunson had 13 points, & Randle had 12. Miami outscored New York by 50 percent on 28.6 percent shooting in the second quarter.

New York trailed again by 11 points in the third quarter but cut it to 90-81 by the end of the quarter. Butler scored 11 points in the third quarter, while Max Strus added eight of his 16 points for Miami.

The Heat led the entire fourth quarter, never falling within six points.

Miami shot 47.1% from the field that match. New York shot 48.7%, but the Knicks took nine fewer attempts thanks to turnovers, Miami’s offensive rebounding, and a determined ball plan.