The New York Knicks lost their second straight against the Miami Heat in a hard-fought affair. A whole team effort brought New York to a one-possession game in which RJ Barrett could not finish off. Jimmy Butler leads the scoring with 26 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds. The nail-biter in Miami ended 96-98. Here are the highlights of the thriller.
Derrick Rose makes his return
Derrick Rose let the NBA he was back with an impressive display over the Miami Heat. With 14 points on 5/9 from the field, he seemed comfortable with the younger players and looks like a great fit with Thibodeau’s squad. The guard will undoubtedly be a key player for the Knickerbockers throughout the rest of the season.
The Knicks don’t need to rely on Julius Randle
In a game where Randle looked quiet, the rest of his team shone. The power forward struggled to get into a good shooting rhythm and only managed to tally 12 points. However, the likes of Elfrid Payton, 18 points, Derrick Rose, 14 points, and Alec Burks, 11 points, were all able to keep the game competitive. This shows Thibodeau that his potential all-star is expendable and may be worth trading while his value is still high. If New York can manage to keep games against top-tier teams like the Miami Heat close without Randle, they may begin to explore trading the 6’9 forward.
Obi Toppin struggles continue
Obi Toppin is still yet to make a name for himself in New York. Thibodeau has given him limited minutes which has made it difficult for Toppin to get into a rhythm. The rookie began the game strong getting himself six quick points off the board and had great link-up play with Derrick Rose but struggled to continue in such fashion later on. Thibodeau has given Julius Randle extended minutes this season which has left Toppin in a difficult position in which he can’t get more than ten or so minutes per game. Things will need to change quickly if the Knicks wish to get the best out of their lottery pick.
Knicks figure out how to penetrate Heat defense
In the first matchup between the two, the Miami Heat seemed to have figured out how to stop their opponents. By forcing them into three-pointers and clogging up the paint, they were able to come out of Madison Square Garden with a win on Sunday. However, the Knicks were able to turn it all around tonight. They managed to overwhelm the Heat in the paint and lead the game for a significant portion of the time.
Defensively, New York also looked strong as they played an aggressive game against Miami. In the second half, Thibodeau’s men closed down on three-point shooters and Mitchell Robinson and Nerlens Noel kept the paint secure as well. It was only late in the game when the Heat began to pick up their shooting as well as their aggressiveness. By the last 20 seconds, the Knicks were given multiple opportunities to take the game to overtime. However, a missed jumper from Randle and a missed layup at the buzzer from Barrett sealed the teams’ fate.
New York will hope to snap their losing streak early on when they head to Washington to face Bradley Beal and the Wizards. The Wizards have struggled this season, and have a lowly record of 6-15. The Knicks must get back on track if they hope to make a playoff push this season as they know that every game will count in the competitive Eastern Conference.