Knicks drop must-win Game 4 to Heat to fall to 3-1 in series

julius randle, knicks
May 8, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin (16) look on during a free-throw attempt in the fourth quarter during game four of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Kaseya Center. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks managed to keep pace with the Miami Heat for the majority of the game but ultimately faltered in the fourth quarter on Monday. This led to their 109-101 defeat in Game 4, putting them behind Miami 3-1 in the series.

In the first quarter, the Knicks secured two one-point leads and ended the quarter trailing by a mere point. However, they never regained the lead, as their attempts to rally were thwarted by Miami’s impressive three-pointers and personal fouls.

The Knicks couldn’t rebound to save their lives:

The game was marked by the Knicks’ weak rebounding efforts. Although Miami out-rebounded New York 44-35, it felt like a far greater difference. For a significant portion of the fourth quarter, the Heat seemed to grab nearly every offensive rebound, preventing the Knicks from making a comeback.

New York’s strategy to double-team Jimmy Butler repeatedly failed, as Butler’s swift passing left the Knicks scrambling on defense to close out on shooters and lanes to the basket, resulting in easy points for Miami.

The Heat shot 33% from beyond the arc, with four players hitting multiple threes. Offensively, Jalen Brunson led the charge for the Knicks, scoring 32 points on 10-21 shooting and contributing 11 assists. Despite his exceptional performance, which has carried the Knicks throughout the season, the supporting cast couldn’t provide the necessary backup in Game 4.

The only other Knicks to score in double figures were RJ Barrett and Julius Randle, who tallied 24 and 20 points, respectively. The team’s three-point shooting improved only slightly from the Game 3 debacle, as they shot 32.1% from outside in Game 4.

New York sorely missed Immanuel Quickley, their spark plug off the bench, who sat out due to a sprained ankle. The Heat’s bench outscored the Knicks 32-10, and New York’s second unit shot just 4-13 from the field and 0-5 from three-point range.

The Knicks struggled to limit fouls, with Randle and Josh Hart both fouling out in the final minute of the game, adding to the overall slog of the match.

While the effort on the floor may have been better than in Game 3, the Knicks were once again outmatched and thoroughly dominated in the two games in Miami. Their season now hangs in the balance, as they face their first elimination game of the postseason.

Only 13 instances in NBA history have seen a team come back from a 3-1 deficit in a playoff series to win. Clearly, the odds are not in the Knicks’ favor, and they face a steep uphill battle moving forward.

The team will attempt to keep their season alive on Wednesday night when the series returns to Madison Square Garden for Game 5.

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