Knicks’ season ends with 96-92 loss at Heat in Game 6
The Knicks’ improbable season came to an end Friday night after they fell to the Miami Heat 96-92 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
After staving off elimination Wednesday in Game 5 at The Garden, Jalen Brunson did his best to force Game 7, but the rest of the Knicks did not support him on the offensive end down in South Beach.
Here are the takeaways….
– Brunson’s scoring carried over from Game 5 in the first quarter. Brunson was driving to the hoop, making threes and getting to the free-throw line. Unfortunately for the Knicks, the defense was a little lackluster especially in transition, which allowed for easy Miami buckets. The Knicks would go on an 8-0 run to take a 14-point lead thanks to good defense and Brunson just making shots/distributing. Miami would answer with a 7-0 run by putting pressure on Brunson and forcing turnovers, which led to easy buckets. The Knicks calmed things down, but neither team was able to score for the final two minutes as New York led 31-24 after one quarter.
Brunson was the star of the first, scoring 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting (3-of-5 from three). He, Quentin Grimes and Julius Randle played all 12 minutes of the first. RJ Barrett had eight points all coming from the charity stripe.
– Brunson — on the floor with the second unit — started the second quarter with a three, but Miami answered back against everything the Knicks did early on. Brunson was subbed out at 9:55 of the second with two fouls. The Heat began running the offense through Bam Adebayo with Jimmy Butler on the bench. The Heat switched to the zone and went on a 10-0 run, and Miami took the lead, 37-36, with 7:48 remaining. With Immanuel Quickley out due to his ankle injury, and Brunson and Randle on the bench, the Miami defense feasted with Barrett being the only offensive playmaker on the floor.
After a Thibodeau timeout, Brunson came back off the bench and Barrett immediately hit a mid-range jumper. Back-to-back threes from Obi Toppin gave the Knicks some breathing room, but Miami kept it close. Barrett picked up his third foul with 4:29 left in the first half and went to the bench. The Heat forced turnover after turnover and retook the lead, 47-46. Brunson picked up his third foul with less than a minute to go. Miami entered the half up 51-50.
Brunson scored 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Barrett was the only other Knick in double figures with 10 points on 1-of-5 shooting. Adebayo had 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting to lead Miami. The Heat were just 2-of-12 from three while the Knicks were 7-of-19. Both teams had similar rebounding numbers with the Knicks having the slight edge, 17-15. However, the Knicks were outscored 26-10 in the paint.
– After a tough first half, Randle had the offense run through him in the second half. He was driving and getting to the line and even made a three. However, the rest of the team could not buy a bucket and the Heat slowly grew a five-point lead, their largest of the game at this point, with 6:13 left. The Knicks offense opened up a bit with Josh Hart making a three and Randle continuing to drive to the basket, but their defense began to suffer.
Despite that, the Knicks stuck around. A massive swing play happened in the final minute of the third quarter. After a Heat miss, Grimes and Hart ran into each other while going for the rebound allowing Miami to pick it up. Duncan Robinson made the Knicks pay by hitting a three. The Heat took a 74-71 lead into the fourth quarter.
Both teams shot 37 percent in the quarter, but Miami made the little plays and was more secure with the ball. Brunson continued to lead all players with 28 points, while Randle ended the third with 13 points and nine rebounds.
– Miami and New York went back and forth with the Knicks getting as close as one point in the early stages of the fourth quarter. Brunson continued to drive to the basket and draw fouls and get to the free-throw line. Unfortunately for New York, there were some lane violations and missed free throws that didn’t allow the Knicks to tie or take the lead.
The Knicks did not get a fourth-quarter bucket until six minutes in, which led to an 8-0 Heat run. The saving grace for New York — it was in the penalty early, which meant a lot of free throws. Any Knick not named Brunson could not make a shot, but they kept it relatively close with defense and free throws. But when Miami needed a basket or stop, the Heat got it. Down 92-86 with a minute to go, Brunson took an elbow from Gabe Vincent that was upgraded to a Flagrant 1, giving the Knicks two free throws and the ball. Brunson hit both shots and Hart made a layup to cut the deficit to two points. The Knicks got the ball back, but Brunson turned the ball over with 15 seconds left. Butler made both free throws to put Miami up by four points. A Grimes three-point attempt missed and the Heat iced the game away at the free-throw line.
Brunson scored 41 points on 13-of-21 shooting — the fourth game this series he scored 30-plus points. He is also the first Knick with three straight 30-point efforts in the playoffs since Patrick Ewing in May 1990. Brunson played 45 minutes in the game.
Randle and Barrett combined for 26 points on 4-of-24 shooting. Hart added 11 points. Butler (24) and Adebayo (23) led the Heat in scoring.