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Round two of the NBA usually features exciting matchups of two teams that were favored in round one. This round two matchup features two teams that started off their last series as underdogs, but it’s still an exciting matchup, with a lot of history behind it.
The Miami Heat and New York Knicks have met in the playoffs 29 times over the years. The Heat have won more games at 15-14, but the Knicks have won three series to Miami’s two.
From Jeff Van Gundy grabbing Alonzo Mourning’s leg (a classic NBA moment), to Alan Houston’s game winning three, to Carmelo Anthony versus LeBron James – when these two teams face each other it’s always been a box office event.
Keys To The Series:
Can Miami stop Jalen Brunson? They’re going to have a hard time stopping the Knicks’ point guard from scoring due to his unorthodox style. Miami can’t afford to let Brunson get hot and they have to keep him off the free throw line.
The Heat have to keep New York off the offensive boards. The Knicks had 29 more offensive rebounds than Cleveland did in round one. They can’t give the Knicks extra possessions and more chances to score.
Jimmy Butler averaged 37.6 points per game in round one and I would keep that going. Butler is the best player in this series and the offensive game plan should start and most times end with him.
The Knicks will have to shoot at a much better rate in this round than they did in round one. They shot 43℅ from the field and 28℅ from downtown and numbers like that will not help them advance to the next round. Miami will methodically score some tough points against you and if the Knicks start stacking bricks, it could get ugly.
New York will need a bit of good news on the Julius Randle injury front and if it is good news they need the regular season Randle back. They need the regular season all-star player to return, not the guy who looked putrid in round one (before the injury). If Randle can get back into form it gives the Knicks a tough one-two punch with Brunson.
Kevin Love provided some good minutes off the bench in round one and he is probably the most experienced player in this series. The Heat need him to give a bit more offensively, especially his shooting. Cleveland didn’t have bigs that could spread the floor the way Love can.
Immanuel Quickley had 19 points in the series clinching game versus Cleveland, but he only averaged 9.0 points per game during the series. The Knicks need him to be way more productive on the offensive end and set the tone for the second unit.
Another classic series will end with the Knicks winning the series, but expect plenty of physical basketball and maybe a few fireworks.
New York wins in six games.