Miami opened up the game clicking on all cylinders. They outscored the Knicks 39-20 in the 1st Quarter with 8 different players scoring. The Heat’s ball movement and shooting was masterful, shooting a slash of 65.2% FG, 50% 3P, 100% FT and racking up 15 assists! New York’s offense was decimated by the same statistics. The Knicks shot 41.7% from the floor, without making a three-pointer or a free throw in the quarter. The Knicks also only recorded 3 assists and coughed up 4 turnovers. The Knicks scored 27+ points in the final three quarters and outscored Miami by 4 points in that time, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their brutal start.
Miami finished with 7 players scoring in double digits and Jimmy Butler wasn’t one of them (finished with 9 points). Bobby Portis (30 points- season-high and 8 rebounds) and Mitchell Robinson (18 points on 8-9 shooting) both had fantastic games for the Knicks off the bench. RJ Barrett coming off a 27 point night, scored just 2 points on a rough 1-10 shooting. Julius Randle finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds, but struggled shooting (3-11 from the field). Marcus Morris Sr. had a subpar game, finishing with 15 points.
Why The Knicks Lost
The Knicks lost because of their lack of defense from three, poor shooting, and an abysmal start to the game. The Heat shot an impressive 47.4% from three, mainly due to Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic shooting a combined 10-19 (52.6%) from downtown. The Knicks shot 12.2% worse than the Heat from the floor and 18% worse from three. They gave themselves a chance to overcome their poor shooting by winning the turnover battle 8-18, but their start to this game was too big of a hole to dig themselves out of. Overcoming a 39-20 start on the road against one of the top teams in the league is nearly impossible. Couple that with the Knicks lack of shooting and they never had a chance to mount a comeback in this one.
Shooting has plagued the Knicks all season, but reinforcements may be on the way. Reggie Bullock, who is a nice 3 & D weapon the Knicks signed this offseason, has started practicing this past week and is growing closer to being available to play. Also, Knicks are likely to make a trade at some point, which would likely pull in draft picks and/or a young, shooter. Regardless of Bullock joining the active roster soon, the Knicks have a limited ceiling due to their current roster’s lack of three-point shooting. When Bullock joins the rotation, the Knicks will still give large minutes to Ntilikina, Barrett, Randle, and Smith Jr. (who have struggled from three all season). New York currently has 5 players shooting over 35% from three this season (Kadeem Allen, Marcus Morris Sr., Allonzo Trier, Bobby Portis, and Elfrid Payton). Their main shooters off the bench have shot terribly from three (Knox- 33%, Ellington- 30.4%, Dotson- 29.8%). Bullock, a career 39.2% three-point shooter, will provide a very nice lift for the Knicks. However, the Knicks need to improve significantly across the board to have a legitimate chance at becoming a playoff team.