The Miami Heat went into Game 2 without their star player Jimmy Butler, and the New York Knicks took advantage of it.
The Knicks took the win at Madison Square Garden, 111-105, in a battle that went back and forth from the second the ball was tipped.
It all came down to a pivotal fourth-quarter run for the Knicks, where the Knicks scored 12 against the Heat’s three-pointer, which was capped by a Jalen Brunson 3-pointer to give New York the lead with 4:05 to play.
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Then, a controversial play ensued for the Heat when a flip to the rim to prevent a shot clock violation was called an airball and, in turn, a Knicks ball. But Heat guard Gabe Vincent was yelling at the ref that the ball hit the rim. It would have been two points for the Heat, and a replay showed him brushing the rim.
Instead, the Knicks use that momentum to hit a floater on the other end thanks to Jalen Brunson to make it 101-96. The Heat got within one on Bam Adebayo’s dunk, but the Knicks started to run away after that as Josh Hart hit a corner 3-pointer and Julius Randle fought hard for an offensive rebound that resulted in a foul and two free throws made. 106-100.
As they have shown in the NBA Playoffs thus far, the Heat never gave up and ended up cutting the lead to three with 22 seconds remaining.
HEAT IN ‘HOLDING GAME’ AFTER JIMMY BUTLER ROLLS ANKLE IN GAME 1 VS KNICKS
However, the Knicks did what was necessary, as Josh Hart hit three crucial free throws to extend the lead in the final seconds and clinch the win.
With the win, the Knicks won their first second-round playoff game at The Garden in a decade.
Despite Butler’s absence, the Heat saw contributions from all sides, leading 54-51 at halftime. But the Knicks outscored the Heat 60-51 in the second half for the win.
For the Knicks, Brunson had a game-high 30 points after going 10-for-19 from the field, including 6-for-10 from three after missing all seven downs in Game 1. Julius Randle had 25 points after missing in Game 1 due to injury. He had a double-double with 12 rebounds while adding eight assists as well.
Hart was one assist away from a triple-double after dropping 14 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, while RJ Barrett was feeling it from beyond the arc, shooting five of nine shooting with his 24 points.
As for Miami, they attempted 49 3-pointers, but hit just 17 of them. Caleb Martin, who replaced Butler in this one, hit four of them and was 8-of-15 from the field for 22 points. Vincent also had 21 points for the Heat, while Max Strus scored 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field.
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The series moves to Miami for Game 3 on Saturday kicking off at 3:30 pm ET.