In Game 2 on Tuesday, the New York Knicks received significant contributions from their three stars, defeating the Miami Heat 111-105 in a thrilling down-to-the-wire match to level their second-round series at 1-1.
Despite trailing for a considerable portion of the game, as the Heat played without Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Victor Oladipo, the Knicks demonstrated the fight and resilience they have displayed all season long, sparking a fourth-quarter rally to secure the win. They outscored Miami 60-51 in the second half after entering halftime trailing by three.
Jalen Brunson emerged as the star of the show once again, carrying the Knicks late in the fourth quarter to propel them to victory.
Brunson scored 30 points, shooting 10-19 from the field and 6-10 from three-point range in the game, with 23 of those points coming in the second half. He had initially been listed as questionable with a sore ankle before the game.
Brunson’s 30 points make him the first Knick to achieve such a mark at Madison Square Garden in the playoffs since Carmelo Anthony did it in 2013. Anthony was in attendance to witness this piece of Knicks history.
Julius Randle, returning to the floor for this game after missing Game 1 with a sprained ankle, played his best game of the playoffs so far, posting a 25/12/8 line and knocking down three shots from beyond the arc. This marked the first game since Game 3 of the first round that the Knicks were fully healthy.
RJ Barrett continued his postseason redemption tour with another 20+ point performance, posting a 24-point outing (including 16 in the first quarter) and going 5-9 from three-point range.
Stellar performances from the Knicks’ big three, affectionately referred to by the internet as “The Mid 3,” bode well for their prospects in this series and are a welcome sight after some struggles from each member of the trio this postseason.
Other Knicks players also made key contributions in Game 2:
Josh Hart maintained his postseason excellence, starting once again and recording a near-triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. He also scored two crucial three-pointers in the final minutes of the game to put the Heat out of reach.
Isaiah Hartenstein provided nine rebounds (including four offensive rebounds) in 26 minutes off the bench. His hustle on the offensive glass helped spark a late-game Knicks rally after they had experienced a shooting slump.
“We just wanted to come in and be more physical,” Hartenstein said after the game. “That was one of the spots, especially in the first game, where we felt like they couldn’t really feel us.”
As a team, the Knicks also improved their three-point shooting. After a dismal 7-34 performance from beyond the arc in Game 1, they bounced back with a 16-40 mark in Game 2, which was crucial to their victory.
The Knicks needed to secure an all-around team effort before heading to Miami for Games 3 and 4. They will have a few days to let some of their injured players heal, as their next game is not until Saturday afternoon in Miami. The Knicks will look to carry this momentum to South Beach.
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