Knicks defense struggles again in loss to Heat

julius randle, knicks
Mar 22, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) guards Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during a free-throw attempt in the fourth quarter at Miami-Dade Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

A game after the New York Knicks had one of their worst defensive performances of the season, they followed it up Wednesday with another rough performance on that end, as they lost to the Miami Heat 127-120 for their second consecutive loss.

Miami shot 57% from both the floor and from three-point range. Entering the game, they were amongst the league’s worst teams in terms of scoring and efficiency.

“You’ve got to be mentally tough when things aren’t going our way,” Jalen Brunson said after the loss. “It’s going to be loud in the playoffs. If we want to be the team that we want to be we’ve got to be better.”

Jalen Brunson via NY Post

Six Miami players hit multiple three-pointers, with Tyler Herro hitting the most threes with four on the night.

The Knicks had real problems containing Herro and Jimmy Butler, with Butler scoring 19 of his 35 points in the second half.

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Back-to-back rough defensive games are a concern for the Knicks:

Similar to the Timberwolves game, the Knicks were able to keep up with the Heat efficiency-wise, as New York shot 51.2% from the field and 40% from three. Three Knicks starters scored at least 22 points (Grimes, Brunson, Barrett), and all three shot at least 58% from the field.

A total of six Knicks players scored in double figures.

But alas, it was poor perimeter defense mixed with timely fouls on both ends of the floor that would lead to the Knicks’ demise despite shooting the ball well.

“I want to look at the fouls because I think that that was a big part of this game,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said after the loss. “So some of them are marginal but I want to make sure that I’m seeing what I’m seeing.”

Tom Thibodeau via NY Post

The loss allowed the Heat to tie the Brooklyn Nets for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings and essentially kept their chances of making the playoffs outright alive. The Knicks sit two games ahead of the Heat and Nets for the fifth seed.

The Knicks will look to tighten up the defense when they play the Orlando Magic in a second end of a back-to-back Thursday night.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_