20 Second Timeout is the place to find the best analysis and commentary about the NBA.

Monday, May 08, 2023

Heat Push Knicks to Brink of Elimination With 109-101 Game Four Win

The Miami Heat barely made the playoffs, but now they are one win away from returning to the Eastern Conference Finals after beating the New York Knicks, 109-101. Jimmy Butler authored another efficient and productive performance with a team-high 27 points on 9-17 field goal shooting, a team-high 10 assists, six rebounds, two steals, and two blocked shots. Butler may not receive any All-NBA First Team votes this season, but if the NBA had an All-Playoffs First Team he would be on it in 2023. Bam Adebayo had a strong performance inside (23 points, game-high 13 rebounds), Max Strus provided outside firepower (16 points on 6-13 field goal shooting, including 4-10 from three point range), and Kyle Lowry continued to do an excellent job running the second unit (15 points, five rebounds, four assists).

The Knicks received strong performances from their three top players, but the rest of the team wilted under the Florida sun. Jalen Brunson had a game-high 32 points on 10-21 field goal shooting, and he ran the offense smoothly with a game-high 11 assists and just one turnover. R.J. Barrett added 24 points on 9-16 field goal shooting, bouncing back from his subpar game three outing (14 points on 5-16 field goal shooting). Julius Randle has struggled mightily throughout the 2023 playoffs after averaging a career-high 25.1 ppg during the regular season, but he had his best shooting game of this postseason (8-13), finishing with 20 points and nine rebounds before fouling out. The other Knicks combined to score just 25 points on 10-26 field goal shooting (.385).

In my game three recap, I concluded, "The Heat are missing Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo, and Jimmy Butler is not at full strength, but every Heat player plays hard on every possession, and that has been the biggest difference in this series." Herro was the Heat's third leading scorer during the regular season (20.1 ppg), and Oladipo made valuable contributions off of the bench, but when players get injured the Heat make no excuses and they don't change the way that they play. "Next man up" is a cliche that every team adopts as a slogan when dealing with injuries, but the Heat live up to that notion, and they do it with several players who were not high profile prospects prior to being found and nurtured by the Heat. The Heat do not tank to get high draft picks; they scout for players who have potential, and then they develop that potential. What a novel and refreshing concept in an era when so many teams think that it is desirable and necessary to "tank to the top" (even though the evidence proves that tanking does not work). 

The Heat and Knicks both were not particularly impressive-looking squads during the regular season, but the Heat are finding their stride while the Knicks are realizing that a tough, playoff-tested team poses a much different challenge than an inexperienced team such as the Cleveland team that they dispatched in the first round.

Labels: , , , , ,

posted by David Friedman @ 10:53 PM



At Tuesday, May 09, 2023 11:35:00 AM, Anonymous TR said...

In this series, Erik Spoelstra passed Larry Brown on the list of all-time coaching playoff wins. (Brown has an even 100, Spo now has 103.) Although Spo is coaching in an era during which more playoff games are being played than Brown did, I think it's notable that Brown needed 193 games to reach 100, whereas Spo has currently coached in only 170.

Spo has obviously won two titles with the Heat and reached the Finals five times. I think it's worth pointing out that while Spo has been gifted a great organization and management, who have brought some phenomenal free agents to South Beach that have in turn led to playoff success, he has also played an important part in turning role players into key contributors. I'm not sure if Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus would be playing important minutes this far in the calendar if they weren't on the Miami Heat's roster.


At Tuesday, May 09, 2023 11:44:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Erik Spoelstra is a great coach, and I have mentioned that many times.

He may never receive the full credit that he deserves because (1) his career is overshadowed by the presence of Pat Riley within the Heat organization, (2) he does not make political statements (unless I have missed something), and (3) he does not have a wisecracking personality during interviews and press conferences.

At Tuesday, May 09, 2023 11:50:00 AM, Anonymous TR said...

It is strange that Spo has never won COY! Hopefully, voters move past the superficialities you mentioned and give him the recognition he deserves. Thanks for the reply, David.

At Tuesday, May 09, 2023 2:56:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


It is strange, but keep in mind that the Coach of the Year Award often goes to a coach of a team that is considered surprisingly successful, as opposed to going to a coach based on that coach being objectively the best coach. Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, and Gregg Popovich won many championships but very few Coach of the Year Awards.


Post a Comment

<< Home