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Heat withstand Barrett’s 46 for 115-100 win versus Knicks to extend road streak

Miami is back on top of the East with another strong team performance.

Miami Heat v New York Knicks Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The chants of “Let’s Go Heat” rained down Madison Square Garden (to a responding chorus of boos) as time ticked and the Miami Heat safely on their way to their season-best sixth consecutive road victory in a row. Miami’s 115-100 victory against the New York Knicks in their return from the All-Star break places them back on top of the East.

The final score could indicate a comfortable margin of victory but the Knicks threatened several times in the third quarter to turn the game around. To their credit, the Knicks hung around for most of the night thanks to a dominant 46-point career-best performance from RJ Barrett — a season high from a Heat opponent. He had 30 in the first half alone, and his quick first step netted him 22 free throw attempts for the night — though he faded down the stretch in the fourth quarter. With Julius Randle struggling through a 2-15 shooting night, Evan Fournier was a distant second on the team with 13 points.

In contrast, Miami’s balanced attack ensured they would have all their weapons on the court at all times tonight. Sixth man of the year candidate Tyler Herro returned from injury to lead the team with 25 points (9-18 FGs, 4-9 3-PT FGs) in 31 minutes while All-Star Jimmy Butler turned up the intensity in the second half to finish with 23 points. Kyle Lowry followed with 19 points and Bam Adebayo contributed 16 points and a game-high 16 rebounds plus four blocks and four assists. Only Duncan Robinson struggled in a scoreless performance in 14 minutes.

The Knicks had just 19 bench points compared to the Heat’s 49, but it was also a game in which Caleb Martin’s stat line doesn’t tell the full story of how he was able to contribute to the win while Jimmy Butler and PJ Tucker rested in the final quarter. Along with Herro, both reserves made winning plays — including timely steals that led to breakaway scores to deflate any momentum New York was hoping to build in their final comeback attempt.

As impressive as Barrett’s first half performance was — which also featured a quick 10-0 start to the game for the Knicks, Miami still walked back to the locker room with a 10-point halftime lead. And despite the Knicks cutting the deficit by half entering the fourth quarter, they were held to just 15 points the rest of the way.

Miami will next host the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow night, a game in which they’ll try to to prevent coach Gregg Popovich from tying Don Nelso nas the NBA’s winningest coach in history.