GAME PREVIEW: Miami will try to eliminate Knicks on their home floor up 3-2
The Heat came up short in game 5, but have a chance to redeem themselves in a “must-win” game 6 at home.
The Miami Heat had a chance to gentleman sweep the New York Knicks at MSG on Wednesday night. In a game they trailed by 19 points, they rallied back and cut it close at several points in the 4th quarter. It was a winnable game but Miami simply couldn’t get the stops, rebounds or buckets necessary to pull off the W. Now, the series shifts back to South Florida for a crucial game 6 inside the Kaseya Center with the Heat up 3-2 in the series.
Jimmy Butler had an off night scoring wise in game 5, finishing with just 19 points but was still effective with 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks as well.
Some questioned if Butler’s health had something to do with the low scoring game, including me. Luckily, it seems that his ankle may be getting better because for the first time since the injury happened, he is upgraded to probable on the injury report.
The Heat are going to need everything they can get out of Butler to finish this series off tonight on their home floor. Although he made an impact in other ways than scoring in the last game, this Heat team needs a true “playoff Jimmy” performance tonight.
The superstar already addressed media and said he is willing to play all 48 minutes to help lead the Heat to get the job done. Jalen Brunson played all 48 for the Knicks in game 5 and he showed out with 38 points.
Brunson has been a serious problem all playoffs and during this series. Erik Spoelstra tried all he could last game with throwing multiple defenders at him and even going with zone defense at points. None worked, as the New York star got to all his spots and made it look easy out there.
Outside of the core 3 of Brunson, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, the Knicks supporting cast struggled a bit offensively. If Miami can lock down at least 1 of their core, it could put the Heat in a much better position.
Butler and Bam Adebayo both need to be much more assertive tonight in looking for their shot. Adebayo only took 11 shots in the last game, and made 7 of them. Butler only took 12 shots and made 5 of them. Those attempts cannot be that low for the team’s main guys in such an important playoff game.
Look for both the starters in Kevin Love and Gabe Vincent to bounce back offensively. Them two, along with Kyle Lowry off the bench, were all struggling to score efficiently. Something has to give and someone needs to step up. Vincent and Love have had a great playoff run, but more recently have tailed off a bit. Hopefully role players like them can feed off the home crowd’s energy and start to get something going.
Max Strus has been a notable player in this series. He has averaged 14.8 ppg on 50% shooting and 38% from deep in the second round. It would be real nice to continue seeming him produce. As a sharpshooter, he has been able to do damage in ways other than just 3 point buckets. He has been cutting to the basket and getting out and finishing in transition, making him a consistent threat to the Knicks all series long.
Besides Butler being upgraded to probable, Caleb Martin was too. That’s a good sign because Martin has been a key player in this series, and Miami would love to have this team healthier right now. Haywood Highsmith is still on the report as probable as well.
This is a must-win game for the Heat. After dropping game 5 on the road and seeing how much better the Knicks played at home, they do not under any circumstance want to be back in MSG for a game 7.
A second straight series loss tonight shifts every single bit of momentum back to New York, and would cause panic-mode for all of Heat Nation.
Miami has protected home-court all playoffs long and are 4-0 inside the Heat’s house. In game 5 Butler was off his game, role players struggled to shoot the ball, the team got out rebounded badly, the Knicks got double the amount of free throws… the guys have to get the job done tonight no questions asked.
Let’s see how it plays out. Tonight’s game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
Haywood Highsmith (knee) — PROBABLE
Caleb Martin (back) — PROBABLE
Jimmy Butler (ankle) — PROBABLE
Tyler Herro (hand) — OUT
Victor Oladipo (knee) — OUT
Immanuel Quickley (ankle) — DOUBTFUL
Jericho Sims (shoulder) — OUT
Probable Starters (at time of publishing):
ODDS (via FanDuel)
Check the odds out at FanDuel!
Tipoff: 7:30 PM EST
TV: ESPN & Bally Sports Sun (Eric Reid, John Crotty)
Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)
Come back to Hot Hot Hoops at game time to join our GameThread and chat about the game live with other Heat fans!
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Been watching and reading about Heat physicality Knicks fans saying they intended to hurt! Specially Bam. Before series started they kept saying to bring back the 90s and pound our team now they're crying! Heat in 6!! Lets goooooo!!
Time to get the crowd fired up behind the team and ride that to a win. Go Heat!