TLDR: Heat were atrocious to start, they finally got things going in the third quarter to build a nice lead, lost it in the fourth, but Wayne Ellington broke through his slump hitting some huge threes to save the day.
Like many games before it, Hassan Whiteside was the first Heat player on the board. Both teams started out cold from beyond the arc, missing every jump shot in the first few minutes. Even Wayne Ellington who is generally money from beyond the arc, missed his first two looks.
With the offense struggling, it was Whiteside who stepped up, blocking shots on defense and doing all of the work on offense. He scored the only points for Miami in the first 4 minutes - James Johnson would eventually end the drought.
The Heat started to pick things up around the 6 minute mark, as they finally hit some shots. Still, Miami’s defense was not up to par as the Knicks waltzed in to a buffet of floaters and open jump shots.
Wade hit a three on his first shot of the game and caused the crowd to erupt. People love him everywhere, and rightfully so. He worked hard to impress in this quarter, but struggled for the most part. There is always added pressure to playing at MSG.
Despite their regular woes, the Knicks were competitive, keeping things close (they even had an 11-3 scoring run) and punishing Miami on almost every mistake. The Heat would trail by one headed into the second.
Miami’s start to the second wasn’t great, and it would get worse as Derrick Jones Jr. went down with a non-contact knee injury on a fast break. He was in significant pain, and had to be helped to the locker room as he couldn’t put weight on his leg.
The Heat fell behind by seven as they struggled on both ends of the court. Their shot selection was questionable at best.
Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk eventually picked up the slack scoring on a put back and drawing a goal tend. Just when the Heat looked like they were getting it going, the Knicks turned up the pressure on defense forcing the Heat into terrible looks.
The Heat just didn’t look good (well, besides one flashy Wade layup). Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson were Miami’s only real offensive threats as the half came to a close. Kelly had 11 points in the quarter, keeping the Heat in the game. The Knicks still took a six point lead into halftime.
Miami was aggressive to start the third quarter, doing a much better job on defense. Wayne Ellington also finally found the net after struggling for the entire first half.
The Heat had many good looks, but struggled to make their shots. Josh Richardson really struggled in this one, to be the player he wants to be struggling against sub .500 teams isn’t going to do it.
The Heat would regain the lead around the five minute mark, and put an exclamation point on it with a huge Hassan slam. That would open the floodgates (15-2 scoring run) allowing Miami to build on their lead with a Wayne Ellington three.
It took a while, but when they’re actually scoring the Heat are impressive. This team feeds off mutual success, unfortunately they also feed off of mutual failure.
The Heat would take an 11 point lead into the fourth.
Miami continued to build on their lead to start the fourth with Bam doing some great work on offense. However, despite falling behind the Knicks didn’t give up continuing to be aggressive on defense and cause Heat turnovers.
Dwyane Wade toned down his scoring to become a facilitator in the fourth and it payed off as he managed to shake J-Rich out of his funk.
The Heat tried to slow down the pace, but the Knicks didn’t react continuing to stay aggressive. This caused problems for the Heat as they turned the ball over often allowing the Knicks to stay within striking distance.
With just over five minutes to go, the Heat started to struggle on offense yet again and the Knicks smelled blood in the water. It’s not even as if the Heat were taking bad shots like in the first, they just couldn’t put the ball in the basket.
The Heat’s inability to score allowed the Knicks to tie things up with just over three minutes to go. Luckily Hassan Whiteside and Wayne Ellington would score on some crucial possessions to give the Heat a little bit of breathing room.
He may have had an atrocious first half, but allowing Wayne Ellington to shoot through his slump payed off as he two huge threes to give Miami an eight point lead.
Dwyane Wade was fouled with 31 seconds left and would put the Heat up six. Whiteside would seal things up for the Heat with a huge block on Alonzo Trier.
This was a nice win for the Heat, but they need to keep things rolling with some tough games ahead before the All-Star break.