Heat Edge Out Knicks in a Close Sunday Matinee
In a Sunday matinee at the Mecca, the New York Knicks fell to the Miami Heat 109-103. They are now 11-14 on the season, snapping a two-game winning streak and splitting their weekend series. The Knicks were only down by a point at halftime, but they were unable to close out the game towards the end. Julius Randle let the team with 26 points, pairing that with 13 rebounds for yet another double-double. For the Heat, Bam Adebayo scored 24 points and was one of six Heat players to score in the double digits. Only three Knicks accomplished this feat: Randle, Alec Burks and Reggie Bullock.
Sniping in the First Half
Bullock finished the game with 21 points, 18 of which came on the first half. He was feeling it from the start, going 6-8 from the 3-point line. Additionally, Randle went 3-5 and Burks went 2-3. By the time halftime came along, the Knicks had a 52.2 3P% which helped them close the gap to 60-59. Unfortunately, the Knicks could not find their same groove in the second half; they finished with a 21.1 3P% with Bullock managing a dreadful 1-6. This isn’t the first time the Knicks have struggled from three, as they went just 6-29 in a recent loss against the Chicago Bulls.
Playing back-to-back is tough in any sport but especially in basketball. With that in mind, it can be easy to disregard head coach Tom Thibodeau’s bizarre rotations for this game–especially down the stretch. RJ Barrett, the second-leading scorer on the Knicks, played just 19 minutes the entire game while sitting on the bench for the entirety of the fourth quarter. Compare this to yesterday’s game against the Blazers where he played almost 35 minutes and scored 18 points. Bullock, who only managed three points in the entire second half, played 14 minutes during that span (including four minutes in the final quarter). Resting a player in back-to-back games is one thing but to shut him out entirely during the stretch is another.
What’s Next for the Knicks?
Today is the first of two games against the Heat, with the next one coming in Miami on Tuesday, February 9th. Even though the Heat are only 9-14 in the 12th seed, if the Knicks want any chance of making the playoffs they have to win this game. With a game against the struggling Wizards in D.C. on Friday, it’s a great opportunity to start another winning streak. After that game on Friday, the Knicks have a trip back home and a quick turnaround before their game against the Houston Rockets on Saturday.