NEW YORK, NY: The Knicks fell short in Game 4 in Miami and are now down three games to one in the series. They needed a split in Florida but they didn’t get it, and now they’re looking up from a deep hole. The Heat have never lost a series from this position. The game was there for the taking on Monday, but the big play to get them over the top never came.
It was a huge break for the Knicks when Miami upset the Bucks, but they are blowing it. Game 3 was tale of horrid shooting, with the Knicks shooting at 34 percent from the field and 20 percent from deep. That’s not gonna get her done.
In Game 4 the offense was better, as the Knicks shot 48 percent from the field, which was better than Miami, and scored over 100 points. But Miami shot the ball well for the first three quarters. And in the fourth, they got on the glass, with seven offensive rebounds in the final frame. The Knicks couldn’t get a big stop. In one sequence Miami just kept getting offensive rebounds. Turnovers hurt the Knicks as well, with 16 total in the game.
The officiating was brutal. Both coaches were constantly furious at the refs, and many of the calls seemed indefensible. Hart and Randle both fouled out. The constant whistles, and guys falling down on soft contact like soccer players, makes basketball hard for me to watch some nights.
Julius Randle had his moments but again made several key mistakes. There was the careless pass for the turnover layup by Robinson, lazy fouls, not boxing out, and falling asleep on defense when Martin blew by him for the big dunk late. I would like to see them move on from him but they seem pretty stuck with him for a few more years.
RJ Barrett has been impressive this post season. He’s kept them in games early when they haven’t had much going on. When he attacks the rim under control, he can finish. And his shooting seems to get better when he’s scoring at the rim. Jalen Brunson is fearless, and has been great.
The Heat’s strategy of attacking the Knicks’ ankles, with Brunson landing on another ankle tonight, has been effective. Quickley is already out with an ankle forcing Brunson to play more minutes. Winning three straight seems unlikely, but at least two are at home. I don’t think it’s over yet, but the fat lady is up in the bullpen.
This was the first time since the mid-1990s that all five local NBA and NHL teams made the playoffs. Well, it’s looking like the Devils, a fringe local team at best, are the only one still with a decent chance of seeing the third round.
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