Two overtimes weren’t required, and a NBA stats meltdown didn’t happen, as the bench unit ran a clinic on winning basketball against youthful lottery team players.
Lead by Kelly Olynyk’s 22 points and 10 assists, the platinum group outscored their counterparts by 25 points in around 25 minutes together on the floor.
Wayne Ellington made 4 3-pointers and collected 16 pointers, Justise Winslow had 15 points, and Rodney McGruder continued his winning plays for the second highest +/- number on the team with 26.
The game started out slowly for Miami with 3 turnovers in the first 2 minutes, as the Knicks built an early 19-13 edge after 7 minutes, and Enes Kanter bullied his way in the painted area.
Once the Heat’s bench mob came in, things quickly got ugly for the Knicks as Miami finessed their way to a 21-point, 64-43, lead just before half time.
After the intermission, New York never got closer than a 9-point, 72-63, deficit on a Tim Hardaway Jr. jumper with 7:18 remaining in the third quarter.
The Knicks continued their habit of hoisting a lot of shots, with an 89-81 edge over the Heat, and getting rebounds, namely they outboarded Miami 40-32.
The Heat converted a blistering 55.6% of their field goal attempts, including 27 points from Knicks’ turnovers. and 15 of 34 attempts from 3-point land.
Kanter lead both teams in scoring and rebounding with 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Bam Adebayo was the only Heat player with a negative +/-, -6, because a veteran skilled center, such as Kanter, knows how to throw his weight around against Bam, while Bam’s impressive footwork and speed works better defending forwards or guards.
Tyler Johnson has issues handling the ball, but boy does he know how to score, because he netted 22 points via cuts, drives, two-and-three point baskets, as a pure shooting guard.
The 119 points places the Heat as the third-highest scoring team in the NBA since the All-Star Break, highest in assist to turnover ratio, second in steals, and nine wins out of their last 14 games.
Offensive fireworks are entertaining, but when Miami needs a win, they can deliver the goods with a suffocating defense, per their 92-91 triumph against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Erik Spoelstra wisely put in non-rotation players in the last five minutes as a precaution against freak injuries to key rotation players.
After the last few games a question arises on who is more valuable, when it comes to rest down the stretch: Kelly Olynyk or Hassan Whiteside?