Going into halftime of the game one series between the New York Knicks and Miami Heat, it was unclear how Knicks fans should feel.
The first quarter was all New York. Leading 32-21, the Garden was in a frenzy. Miami would shoot a puzzling 4-15 from three in the first quarter. The Knicks would shoot 13-23 (56%) from the field.
Josh Hart attacks the basket!! pic.twitter.com/FxRiqIbOG2— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 30, 2023
LOCK AND LOAD, OBI pic.twitter.com/caKM3nCMDj— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 30, 2023
Then it started to get closer in the second quarter. The Heat would only shoot six three-pointers in the second quarter, hitting three of them. Miami took a new approach in quarter two, scoring seven baskets all inside the restricted area compared to two in the first quarter. They shot 11-18 from the floor in the quarter and 4-5 from the foul line.
New York would struggle from deep in the second quarter, hitting one of nine attempts. Points in the paint were the plan as the Knicks hit 9-10 shots from the foul line and in.
Miami used a strong second quarter to only be down 55-50 at halftime.
Any team would love to be up five at halftime of a playoff game but there was this sinking feeling Miami found something to close out the half.
The Knicks shot 56% from the field in the opening 24 minutes compared to Miami shooting 36%. A 20% increase and only five points to show from it was not a great look.
The third quarter is when everything changed in this game. New York would actually score four straight points and push the lead to 59-50. A 13-2 Heat run would take place from 10:56-7:59, giving the Heat a two-point lead. Obi Toppin hit a three to regain a 64-63 lead with 7:44 left in the third but that was the last time all game the Knicks had a lead. Miami would outscore the Knicks 18-11 from 7:44 on and take an 81-75 lead into the fourth quarter.
Transition defense was a problem in the quarter, as seen in these Kevin Love highlights:
Touchdown, Kevin Love. Here are the 3 outlet passes from yesterday. @PFTCommenter— Jake Marsh (@PMTsportsbiz) May 1, 2023
So, what went wrong in the third quarter?
The Knicks only made eight field goals in the quarter. Again, they struggled mightily from the three-point line, only hitting 2-13 attempts. They were good again from inside the three-point line, hitting 5-10 field goal attempts.
Miami went on these big runs and the Knicks didn't have the shooting to counter. The Heat hit 5-9 three-point attempts in the quarter. Inside the three-point line, they made 6-9 field goals.
These two teams went in opposite directions in the second and third quarters.
New York had a blitzing start before playing a poor middle of this game. Miami didn't let a bad first quarter faze them and adjusted their game plan.
There was too much reliance on threes during the second and third quarters where they shot 3-22 from deep. The absence of Julius Randle was glaring as the Knicks just didn't have a lot of flow on offense and 25 points per game sitting on the bench should and did play a factor.
It’s not like they were bad shots and many of them were open looks as was pointed out.
The only conversation to have about #Knicks Game 1 loss to Miami is their untimely 3PT slump: went 2 for 15 on "open" 3PT and 4 for 16 on "wide open" 3PT and only 5 3PA came late in the shot clock. They missed Randle, for sure, but shots were there to make to win. No excuses.— Alan Hahn (@alanhahn) May 1, 2023
Just missing open looks and the Heat wasted no time taking advantage. The Knicks have done a good job scoring points in the paint and I would hope they are more aggressive driving in game two.
The fourth was tightly contested for a while but the Knicks could never get over that hump to even tie the game. Miami took that third-quarter momentum into the fourth to close out the Knicks in game one.
New York’s offense fell asleep with five minutes left in this game. RJ Barrett would hit two foul shots to cut the deficit to 95-92 with 5:22 left. The Heat would go on a 9-2 run and find themselves up 104-94 with under three minutes left.
Of course, it has to be noted that Jimmy Butler rolled his ankle with five minutes left. He stayed in the game and wasn't very effective and his status is unknown for game two Tuesday night.
Disappointing loss but no time to get down or feel sorry for yourself in the playoffs. Regroup, refocus, tie up the series, and pack the bags for Miami.
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