Knicks-Heat is back. The gang weighs in.
Kento Kato: Knicks in 6
I was very skeptical when I chose the Knicks in 7 games over the Cavaliers last round but am a bit more optimistic and confident this time around. That isn’t to say that Miami will be a cakewalk or an easy opponent by any means. The Heat, lead by Jimmy Butler and his playoff heroics, just beat the number one seeded Milwaukee Bucks, and look as good as they have all season long despite losing Tyler Herro to an injury. But the Knicks have some momentum of their own coming off of what was a physically dominant and convincing gentleman’s sweep of the Cavaliers. The Heat, in an attempt to get back to the conference finals, will rely heavily on Playoff Jimmy, their experience, and the genius of Eric Spolestra as a major strength. Meanwhile, the Knicks will look to exploit the Heat with balance and depth with RJ Barrett, who is averaging 23.7PPG vs. Miami over the last two seasons, being a big x-factor since Jalen Brunson only averaged 20.7PPG against the Heat this season and Julius Randle’s ankle is far from 100%. As New York looks to make it’s first conference finals appearance since 1999, they’ll likely concede one game to not being able to buy a bucket, and one more to the greatness of Butler. But as strong as the Heat look right now, we do have to remember that the Heat looked shaky throughout most of the season and the Knicks did go 3-1 against them in the regular season. In the end, I like the Knicks coming out on top, especially if Randle can stay healthy throughout the series.
Lee Escobedo: Knicks in 6
If Giannis Antetokounmpo hadn’t injured his back, the Knicks would be playing the Milwaukee Bucks. But he did, and now we are lucky enough to play the Miami Heat, a team we can absolutely smack (Knicks lead 3-1 in regular season series). The Heat have many of the same issues as the Cavs: a weak bench, a single superstar (Jimmy Butler), a secondary star with limited offensive ability (Bam Adebayo shot 8.3% from three this season), and major holes in the starting lineup (undrafted, low-ceiling Max Struss and Gabe Vincent, and aging vet Kevin Love). The major difference is the Heat’s #1 option is way better than the Cavs. Playoff Jimmy is a real thing. Unlike Donovan Mitchell, there will not be a game in this series where he doesn’t show up. Eric Spoelstra is the only coach better than Tom Thibodeau in the Eastern Conference. He is the master of in-game and game-to-game adjustments. It will be a dog fight. The Heat will have the best player on the court, the Knicks will have the better team. The Knicks' size and length are our greatest strength, especially in Mitchell Robinson’s matchup with Love, who he will dominate via offensive rebounding/second-chance points. The Knicks need to limit Bam Adebayo’s playmaking as well, it’s the key to limiting the Heat’s role players. Josh Hart is the X-Factor, as he will be the primary defender on Butler. The Knicks are going to the Finals. Book it.
Miranda: Manchester City in 4
(Matt is too traumatized by Knicks-Heat to make a correct prediction — .Ed)
The greatest team on Earth is on one of their unstoppable late-season runs, with Erling Haaland a greater scoring threat than the Knicks and Heat combined. Erik Spoelstra may be the best coach in the NBA, and (haters, sit down for this) Tom Thibodeau is up there, too. But no one anywhere in sports is better at what they do than Pep Guardiola.
Sean Saint Jacques: Knicks in 6
The Miami Heat being here is should not be seen as a fluke. Yes, Giannis Antetokounmpo missed a lot of time in the first round series, but the way Miami played on the defensive end of the floor was extremely impressive at times. Jimmy Butler is red hot right now and the likes of Josh Hart, R.J. Barrett and others need to limit his scoring. Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein have a big test in Bam Adebayo who has shown in the past he can take over a series. With that being said, Jalen Brunson to me could have a really big series for the Knicks. Erik Spoelstra will certainly be more prepared on the defensive side of the ball, but I think the Knick guards could have their way in this series. Julius Randle’s health is an important point to mention as well. If he can provide some solid numbers in this series the Knicks could be in very good shape. New York is playing with supreme confidence right now on both ends of the floor and I think with homecourt advantage that will take the Knicks over the top and send them to the eastern conference finals. This will be a great series because Knicks-Heat always delivers. New York will win it in six games.
Antonio Losada: Knicks in 6
See. I’m giving Coach Spoelstra the edge here over Thibs as much as that pains me to type. I’m giving Jimmy Buckets the edge over whoever covers him, too. Other than that, the Knicks are Gucci even on the Bam/Mitch-Rob matchup. So that makes it a couple of victories for the Heat on a pair of 40-burger outings by the unstoppable and inevitable and irrefutable Jimmer, but nothing more than that. Go check Miami’s depth chart if you wish. The Heat finished the regular season 16-16. The Heat entered the postseason via a play-in loss (against Trae Young’s Hawks), then a bounce-back win in a do-or-die matchup with the lowly Bulls. The Heat shot 45% from beyond the arc against the Bucks... after shooting an NBA-fourth-worst 34% before. It’s fair to assume a team can have one, perhaps two lucky games and wins coming out of nowhere every series throughout the playoffs. I’m sorry for Miami because it feels like they just wasted all their four-leaf bullets in waving Giannis an early goodbye.
Russell Richardson: Heat in 4
In a shocking turnaround, the Heat will annihilate the Knicks in four games. New York will lose 16 consecutive quarters of basketball. Prepare to be humiliated by something the national news will call, “Super Strus.” Kyle Lowry will Benjamin Button us and average 15 dimes per game. Edrice Adebayo will tie Mitchell Robinson into balloon animal shapes, while Jimmy Butler cooks the Knickerbocker backcourt like fried calamari. The Empire State Building will be lit with flamingo colors, and Schenectady’s favorite son will live FOREVER!!! (This might have been written while vampire Pat Riley stood over my neck with his teeth bared. Send help.)