Both teams struggled to score at first with Jimmy taking an ill-advised three and Kemba Walker throwing the ball away on the other end. Thankfully, the now rejuvenated Duncan Robinson drew first blood with a nice look from three and would do so again seconds later.
A PJ Tucker three got Miami added on to Miami’s 9-0 start and two back-to-back Jimmy buckets put Miami up eleven. RJ Barrett and Kemba Walker led the way for the Knicks as they attempted to claw back, but Miami was firing on all cylinders, facilitating (Bam had 5 assists with more than 5 mins left in the first), drawing charges, and frustrating the Knicks. Miami’s defense kept the Knicks to just 40% from the field. The Heat slowed down briefly on offense with the reserves in, but Jimmy and Tyler took control to keep building on the lead. Miami would go into the second up 14.
The Knicks showed signs of life to start the second with Obi Toppin going to work attacking the rim. Luckily, Herro and Vincent continued to score well, keeping New York out of striking distance. This was Herro’s first game back since entering protocols and it didn’t look like he missed a beat as he pump-faked defenders out of their shoes for some impressive buckets.
so nice of him to get out of the way so Tyler could have an open shot pic.twitter.com/SrYb6VnQlM— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 27, 2022
The Knicks exploded for an offensive run of their own to get within 10 with RJ Barett and Obi Toppin carrying the offensive load with about 5 minutes remaining in the half. This created a short segment of sloppy, turnover-ridden basketball from both teams. Jimmy Butler calmed things down for the Heat facilitating on offense, scoring in transition, and disrupting things for New York on the other end. The Knicks ended the half on a 10-3 run, but Miami would still take a 13 point lead into halftime.
Gabe Vincent, PJ Tucker and Jimmy Butler kept Miami firing offensively to start the second half, balooning the lead to 21 early on. Jimmy was in attack mode, slashing to the basket and earning his points from the line. Bam struggled to score tonight, while he was very effective as a facilitator and a rebounder. PJ Tucker didn’t have that issue however as he was lethal from beyond the arc continuing to build Miami’s lead out to 30 on a 20-5 run. The Knicks just didn’t have any answers for Miami’s offensive barrage. Herro capped the third quarter off with another three to put the Heat up 33 headed into the fourth.
To start the fourth, the Knicks sent out their second unit to try and spark something, and they did get a little lift early from Toppin who broke out for some nice buckets. Toppin also yanked Herro’s arm on a really weird and uneeded foul, thankfully Tyler was fine. The Knicks burst cut the lead to 19, forcing Miami to reinsert Bam to settle things down. It was Duncan who’d stop the bleeding with a big three and Bam would follow up with a statement dunk. It’s great seeing Duncan play so well lately after his rough start to the year at home. With the Heat up 15 and with just over a minute remaining, Yurt and Kyle Guy saw minutes. The Heat would go onto to win by 14.
In the past these were games that might be a toss-up for the Heat, but this team is different. Let’s face it, they’re first seed in the East for a reason.