NBA playoffs: No. 8 seed Heat a win away from conference finals after Jimmy Butler powers another win over Knicks
The New York Knicks are headed home on the brink.
Powered by another strong shooting night, the Miami Heat scored a 109-101 Game 4 win over the Knicks on Monday to take a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The No. 8 seed that ousted the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the first round now stands one win away from the conference finals.
As usual, Jimmy Butler led the way alongside a co-starring role from Bam Adebayo.
Adebayo got off to a hot start with a 9-point first quarter as Miami took a 32-31 lead. He had 16 at the half as the Heat extended their edge to 56-48. An 11-point third quarter from Butler helped the Heat take a 90-81 lead into the final quarter.
There the Heat went cold with 1-of-9 start from the field. But it didn't matter. They gave themselves repeated second chances with three offensive rebounds during the stretch while holding New York without a field goal for the first 4:08 of the stanza. By then, the Heat led 95-84, and the Knicks never recovered. Julius Randle fouled out on a charge with 3:08 remaining, all but closing the door on a New York rally.
As they've done throughout the postseason, the Heat repeatedly worked for, found and hit open shots. A team that ranked 27th in the league in 3-point shooting during the regular season with a 34.4% success rate entered Monday’s game trailing just the Boston Celtics for the second-best rate in the playoffs at 39.2%.
They trusted their deep ball again on Monday in a high-volume effort that saw them hit 13-of-39 (33%) from beyond the arc. It wasn't their best effort, but they managed four more made 3-pointers than the Knicks (9-of-26). And they repeatedly declined to settle for contested shots while working to find the open shooter.
19 seconds of beautiful basketball 🤌 pic.twitter.com/Zcblk17rhR
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 9, 2023
When they missed, they attacked the glass, securing 13 offensive rebounds on their 45 misses. They shot 47.1% from the floor while attempting nine more field goals (85) than the Knicks (76).
New York countered with a 48.7% shooting night from the field, led by a 32-point, 11-assist performance performance from Jalen Brunson despite a concerted Heat effort to deny him the ball. But the Heat outscored the Knicks by 12 points from long distance while securing a 44-35 edge on the boards.
Butler led Miami with 27 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals. He set the tone with a pull-up 3 for the game's opening bucket. Adebayo added 23 points and 13 rebounds. Max Strus continued to thrive in his role as a starter with 16 points and 6 assists while shooting 4-of-10 from long distance.
Kyle Lowry, moved to the bench after a late-season knee injury, set the tone for the second unit with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in 26 minutes. He shot 4-of-6 from the field and hit 2 of his 4 3-point attempts.
Randle added 20 points and 9 rebounds before fouling out, while R.J. Barrett tallied 20 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. The Knicks will look for big games from both of them in New York as they look to fend of elimination in Wednesday's Game 5.