The New York Knicks are a vastly improved team from last year, to be sure. But when it comes to beating the elite team’s of the Eastern Conference, they still can’t quite get over the hump.
Are the Miami Heat an elite squad? They have a worse record than New York at the moment, but they are also the defending conference champions. And they have Jimmy Butler.
The combination of Butler and the Heat’s veteran moxie was enough to turn the tide in the second half, as the Heat turned around seven-point Knicks lead in a matter of minutes, frustrating our guys into making dumb mistakes and burying three-pointers whenever the game got too close. A wretched end to the third quarter left the Heat with an 11-point cushion, and that was pretty much the game.
Julius Randle (7-17, 22 points) and especially RJ Barrett (4-12, 8 points) were not good for New York. I’ll give them since Randle is coming off an injury and Barrett has been great recently (though his three-point shot seems to have abandoned him once again). They just don’t have the experience to beat a well-coached Heat squad at full strength. Also, Pat Riley is Satan.
Recap to come.