The New York Knicks held off the Miami Heat’s fourth-quarter surge to avoid elimination with their 112-103 Game 5 victory at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
The Heat outscored the Knicks 29-28 in the fourth quarter, but the Knicks did enough to come back from their 10-point first-quarter deficit after finding their offense in the second and third.
They led by as much as 19 in this contest, and a lot of that was thanks to Jalen Brunson, who didn’t hit one minute for head coach Tom Thibodeau in this must-win contest for the Knicks.
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Brunson dropped 38 points on 12-of-22, including 4-of-10 from three, with 10-of-12 free throws made as well. He had nine rebounds and seven assists as well.
But Brunson wasn’t alone in his 48-minute marathon. Quentin Grimes was also out there the entirety of the game, playing well on both ends of the floor with two steals and two blocks as well as eight points, five rebounds and four assists.
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New York saw more offensive firepower from Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, too. Randle was cold in the first quarter but found his stroke later as he went 7-of-13 including four three-pointers made for 24 points with five rebounds and five assists.
Barrett had 26 points for the Knicks with seven rebounds and two assists.
In the fourth quarter, the Heat employed the “Hack-A-Robinson” gameplan late in the fourth quarter, as they intentionally put Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson, a 48.4% free throw shooter in the regular season, to the free throw line on purpose in hopes that he misses his chances and allow Miami back in the game.
Instead, he drained 4-of-his-6 chances when the Heat started the intentional fouls to help keep distance, which included one of two
Miami didn’t have one player score 20-or-more points, as Jimmy Butler led the team with 19 points, with nine of those coming at the free throw line.
Duncan Robinson was a main reason the Heat closed the gap the Knicks created, though, as he went 5-of-10 from three-point land for 15 of his 17 points off the bench. But Kyle Lowry, a player that has been great for Miami off the bench, struggled in this one with just three of his 11 shot attempts finding twine for nine points.
Both teams made 13 three-point attempts, but the Knicks were a bit better overall with a 49.3% field goal rate compared to the Heat’s 42%.
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The Knicks will have to hold off the Heat two more times if they wish to reach the Eastern Conference Finals, and they’ll start in Game 6 down in Miami on Friday night.