NBA playoffs: Knicks escape scare from shorthanded Heat to tie series 1-1
The New York Knicks were in trouble against a shorthanded Miami Heat team midway through the fourth quarter Tuesday.
But a 12-3 run saw New York surge from a six-point deficit to a 99-96 lead. Jalen Brunson's 3-pointer with 4:07 remaining gave New York the lead for good, allowing the Knicks to escape from Madison Square Garden with a 111-105 win and 1-1 series tie against the eighth-seeded Heat with the series shifting to Miami.
While Miami spread the ball around with Jimmy Butler sidelined, the Knicks saw Brunson, Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett combine for 79 of their 111 points to secure the win.
The Knicks got off to a hot start sparked by Barrett and the return of Randle, who missed Game 1 due to an ankle injury. Barrett scored 16 and Randle scored 10 as New York opened a 31-29 first-quarter lead.
The Heat responded with a 25-20 second-quarter edge to take 54-51 halftime lead. With Butler and Tyler Herro sidelined, they relied on a barrage of 3-point attempts to compensate for the absence of two of their three leading scorers. It worked until midway through the fourth quarter, when a Caleb Martin 3-pointer gave them a a 93-87 edge with 7:06 remaining.
The Knicks responded with the 12-3 run to ensure that they wouldn't leave New York without a win. Miami had a chance to tie the game 99-99, but Martin's desperation 3-point attempt with the shot clock winding down missed the mark. Then the Knicks caught a break.
Late missed call helps Knicks
Gabe Vincent secured the rebound off Martin's miss and immediately put it back for a layup that would have cut Miami's deficit to 99-98. But officials waved the bucket off and blew the whistle for a shot clock violation believing that Martin's shot missed the rim.
Replay shows that the ball clearly did hit the rim. The missed call cost Miami two points.
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Heat coach Erik Spoelstra signaled for a review of the play, but play carried on. Brunson hit a floater in the lane on the ensuing Knicks possession to extend New York's lead to 101-96. The Heat didn't get closer than three points from there.
Brunson led the Knicks' effort with 30 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals while hitting 10 of 19 field-goal attempts, including six of 10 from 3-point distance. Randle returned after missing Game 1 due to an ankle sprain to tally 25 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. Barrett finished with 24 while hitting five of nine 3-point attempts.
Martin started for Butler, who was ruled out before tipoff due to an ankle sprain sustained in Game 1. He led the Heat with 22 points alongside 8 rebounds, while shooting 4-of-8 from 3-point distance. Vincent tallied 21 points and 5 assists, while Bam Adebayo posted 15 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
A Heat team that averaged 34.8 3-point attempts per game in the regular season launched 49 on Tuesday, hitting 17 for a 34.7% success rate. The Knicks, meanwhile, hit 16 of 40 (40%) 3-point attempts and secured a 50-34 rebounding edge that proved critical down the stretch.
The series shifts to Miami for Game 3 on Saturday, giving Butler four days to rest and rehabilitate his injured ankle. Herro has a cast on his hand and won't return during the series.