Knicks’ can’t fight ! find the reasons…

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World News, May 7,2023. The No. 8 seed Heat, Led by Jimmy Butler’s 28 points, defeat the No. 5 seed Knicks, 105-86.In four rebounds, and three assists, Max Strus (19 points, three 3pt. FG) and Bam Adebayo (17 points, 12 rebounds) added a combined 36 points in the victory, Jalen Brunson tallied 20 points, six rebounds and eight assists for the Knicks in the losing effort. The Heat lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1, with Game 4 taking place on Monday, May 8. 

The Miami Heat offence began to resemble the unit that finished 25th in the regular season for the first time during these playoffs. In Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the New York Knicks, the Heat had their worst offensive outing of the postseason, scoring just 105 points on 96 possessions (109.4 per 100).

They also defeated the Knicks, winning by 19 points, to take a 2-1 series lead and keep home-court advantage.

With the two teams combining for a 15-for-72 (21%) 3-point shooting percentage, this was the most 90s-era Knicks-Heat game of the series thus far in terms of scoring. Additionally, the offensive play on the New York side of the court,

where Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and Jalen Brunson all had trouble getting into a groove.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 28 points after returning from a one-game absence, and the Heat are now 10-2 in the last 12 games that their star player has been in uniform. More significantly, they are two victories away from reaching the conference finals for the third time in the four years Butler has been a member of their team.

Here are some details, figures, and video from an offensive conflict.

1. Slow down

The Knicks made 3-for-33 shots overall and 8-for-40 shots from beyond the arc, including 5-for-7 from the right corner. In seven of their eight playoff games thus far (Game 2 of this series being the exception),

With Game 2 of this series being the exception, they have now played seven out of eight playoff games and shot worse than 33% from 3-point range, compared to 33 times (or 40% of their games) during the regular season.

On Saturday, it was more than just a make-or-miss league issue. The Heat played excellent defense, which contributed to the Knicks’ poor offensive performance, but also to their own lack of the proper attitude on that end of the court.

Josh Hart was wide open and only needed one pass when Randle was double-teamed during the game’s opening possession. Heat two-team John Randle, But Randle managed to hold onto the ball and force a difficult fadeaway that just missed the rim. In the middle of the second quarter, 

Obi Toppin, who had made eight off-the-dribble 3-pointers throughout the season, missed a step-back 3-point attempt with 12 seconds left on the shot clock in the middle of the second quarter. Immanuel Quickley pulled up from a distance of 27 feet on the very next possession rather than going after Duncan Robinson.

2-point attempt by Immanuel Quickley

Quickley eventually hit the Knicks’ first three-pointer of the contest, and it came during a fast break. However, it came from the right corner and was off the catch.

One of the few successful possessions the Knicks had on Saturday was that one. Randle drove, broke down the defense, and found Hart in the left corner for an open and in-rhythm look late in the third quarter.

We can expect good things if we spray the ball. Knicks, After the game, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The best way to establish rhythm is to drive, pass, pass.”

But in Game 3, those kinds of possessions were scarce. According to Synergy tracking, the Knicks actually had 21 transition points, which was a series high. However, they had a terrible half-court offence. Thibodeau lamented, “We got bogged down, and offence was difficult.”

3. Heat becomes hostile

The heat made it difficult. On Saturday, their own offence struggled, but they didn’t let that deter a defence that limited their opponent to just 90 points per 100 possessions for the second time this year. (92 total games).

On the rare occasions when the Knicks did move the ball relatively quickly, Miami was able to load up to the strong side and still recover. The Heat were able to prevent New York from benefiting from an empty-corner pick-and-roll for Brunson a few possessions after the too-quick, non-movement Toppin and Quickley 3-point attempts noted above by assisting, rotating, and ultimately forcing a turnover from Randle.

4. Turnover by Julius Randle

Bam Adebayo assisted at the nail, stopped Quickley’s drive, and then closed to Randle. And after the game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gave the most praise to the big man.

Spoelstra claimed, “We were active. “And I believed Bam played a significant role in that. He was all over the court, on both sides.

Compared to Game 1, the Knicks were a little more aggressive in defending Butler, occasionally sending double teams at him. He did still succeed occasionally. They occasionally produced some decent rotations from the double…

5. Knicks rotate and double.

However, on the Heat’s opening possession of the third quarter, Brunson doubled when Butler was guarded by Randle alone and nobody else was prepared to rotate in Max Strus, who found an open 3-point shooter to give the Heat a 17-point lead.

6-pointer by Max Strus

Butler is a special player, and these are the playoffs. The Knicks aren’t typically a team that likes to bring two players to the ball and rotate. They need to be quicker and more decisive than they were on Saturday if they want to double-team Butler going forward (just like with their offence).

7. Knicks bench has issues

In terms of aggregate point differential per 100 possessions (how well the team performed with reserves on the floor) during the regular season, the Knicks bench ranked fourth while the Heat bench ranked 22nd. The best cumulative plus-minus scores on the team belong to Caleb Martin (plus-57) and Duncan Robinson (plus-55), who play on Miami’s No. 1 bench in the playoffs.

It’s not news that the Heat have developed undrafted players into excellent role players. But it’s important to have those undrafted players win bench time against this specific opponent.

Josh Hart’s inclusion in the starting lineup has changed the makeup of the Knicks’ bench from late in the regular season. Quickley has had trouble, managing only a 10-for-28 (36%) shooting clip, including 3-for-16 from beyond the arc. And in 57 minutes, he has just one assist. Out of his 23 attempts, Toppin has only made five of his 17 attempts from beyond the arc. Isaiah Hartenstein had a huge game in the final minutes of Game 2, but on Saturday he had a minus-18 rating in 26 minutes.

Not as bad as Barrett’s minus-32, though. The Knicks have not alternated Brunson and Randle’s playing time while switching to a second unit of Barrett and the reserves. With only 24 points on a meagre 37 offensive possessions, that lineup is minus-22 in 19 minutes of the series. (65 per 100).

All season long, Thibodeau has trusted his bench, and up until this point, it has paid off. But perhaps it’s time to make a change.

A further ankle, Butler benefited from having three full days before Game 3 and looked good in the first half on Saturday after spraining his right ankle in the fourth quarter of Game 1 and missing Game 2. But with just over seven minutes remaining,

But with just under seven minutes remaining in the third quarter on Saturday, he appeared to twist that ankle once more.

He played until the end of the third quarter, and with the Heat leading by a large margin, it appeared as though he might sit out the entire fourth. But Butler returned and promptly made a step-back jumper to stop the bleeding when the Knicks cut a 22-point deficit to 14.

Brunson and Randle’s ankle injuries, along with a third one sustained on Saturday, have plagued the Knicks in the meantime. Midway through the fourth quarter, the player abruptly turned his left ankle and left the game.

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