The Miami Heat are one win away from making it into the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year in a row; they protected home court against the New York Knicks and shifted the series back to New York with a 3-1 lead. Through four games, the Heat have simply looked like a better team, especially with Jimmy Butler in the lineup. With Butler playing, the Heat are 3-0 and have honestly won quite handily. Game 4 never truly looked in doubt, as the Heat controlled the game from start to finish on their way to a 109-101 win. A balanced effort across the board helped them secure the win and an imposing 3-1 lead.
Jimmy Butler led the way in Game 4 much like he has for most of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. He scored 27 points, had 10 rebounds and 6 assists, and added 2 blocks and 2 steals as well. Meanwhile, Bam Adebayo had one of his better games, pouring in 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Max Strus had 16 points and 6 rebounds. Kyle Lowry was a spark off of the bench, giving the Heat 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in 26 minutes. It was an overall team effort from the Heat, one that saw them once again look much better than the Knicks.
With the series now back at Madison Square Garden, the Heat would love to finish it off in five games and guarantee some extra rest. The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics are guaranteed to play six games, so a 4-1 series victory for the Heat would provide them some extra days off. Either way, the Heat will win this series, and there are three reasons why; here are those three reasons why the Heat will beat the Knicks and move onto the Eastern Conference Finals in back-to-back years.
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Miami Heat’s Kevin Love
Kevin Love has turned into an incredible addition for the Miami Heat in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. His veteran presence is evident on the court, and it shows in the clear chemistry he displays with each teammate. Love has been hitting timely buckets and making the right plays, and fits in perfectly alongside Jimmy Butler. Love knows how to do whatever it takes to win, and this is exactly the type of mentality that Butler adopts. Not to mention, the two have already shown an elite connection in the fast break.
Love has been known throughout his career for his patented outlet pass. It has transitioned seamlessly to the Miami Heat, and he has already connected multiple times with Butler on the long heave in this series. It is a perfect encapsulation of the role that Love has filled for this squad, knowing exactly what he can do and where he can do it to help the Heat win. Ever since he started getting consistent minutes, the Heat have had a stoic presence on the floor next to Butler, creating a dynamic duo in the two. The Heat are going to finish off the New York Knicks on the back of more strong play from Kevin Love.
New York Knicks’ Julius Randle continues to struggle
Julius Randle has shown flashes in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, but he has not been the same player he was in the regular season. This is no surprise, as the postseason marked his first game-time in weeks after suffering an ankle injury to end the season. The rust has been clear, as he has not been able to string together consistent performances. With Jalen Brunson and Immanuel Quickley also dealing with injuries, the Knicks need Randle to be at the top of his game. Unfortunately for New York, he won’t return to that type of player in this series.
The injury bug definitely hit the Knicks at the wrong time, not to mention simultaneously with a matchup against a buzzsaw in the Miami Heat. Randle does not have enough time in this series to get back to his best form, and it will continue to hurt him for the rest of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It will ultimately lead to the demise of the New York Knicks, as the Heat will finish them off and advance to the ECF.
“Playoff” Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler has denied that “Playoff” Jimmy exists, although his numbers beg to differ. Butler is averaging 33.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. He is doing all of this on 56.1% shooting from the field and 39.4% shooting from the 3-point line. Besides Devin Booker, Butler has been the best player in the 2023 NBA Playoffs and singlehandedly has the Heat on the cusp of another trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. “Playoff” Jimmy might not be a real thing, but there is no doubt that Butler is playing at a different level right now.
Butler is going to maintain this standard of play and lead the Heat right passed the Knicks to finish this series off. He hasn’t lost to the Knicks yet, and it would come as no surprise if the Heat swept the Knicks with Butler in the lineup. Regardless of the opponent, Butler seems to have a mental edge over anyone who lines up across from him right now. This will certainly continue, and Butler will keep leading the charge towards his first NBA Finals ring. With Butler at the helm, the Heat will find themselves in yet another Eastern Conference Finals.
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Courtesy : https://clutchpoints.com/3-reasons-heat-will-finish-off-knicks-to-reach-eastern-conference-finals-again