Knicks lose Randle yet still manage to finish off the Heat 101-92
The Knicks defeated the Heat 101-92 in a highly anticipated contest at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
The win was all the more impressive as it came without All-Star Julius Randle, who sprained his left ankle before halftime and did not return to the game.
Randle’s injury occurred when he landed on Bam Adebayo’s foot after taking a jump shot. The crowd at the Garden gave him a standing ovation as he left the court, chanting “MVP” in appreciation of his excellent season.
Despite Randle’s absence, the Knicks’ bench stepped up in a big way. Immanuel Quickley led the way with 24 points off the bench, while Quentin Grimes contributed 23 points on 8-14 shooting, including five three-pointers.
Coach Thibodeau made a notable decision in the fourth quarter, playing three reserves – Quickley, Josh Hart, and Isaiah Hartenstein – alongside Grimes and RJ Barrett, and the move paid off with an 11-1 run that put the Knicks up 95-85.
“I thought our bench was terrific. So next guy get in there, next man up, get it done and that’s the way we have to approach it.”
– Tom Thibodeau
Hart also had a strong fourth quarter, scoring 8 of his total 13 points to help put the game out of reach for the Heat. Jalen Brunson added 12 points, including a buzzer-beater that put the Knicks up 48-46 at halftime.
The Heat went on a 14-0 run after the Knicks scored the first eight points of the game, and led 23-19 at the end of the first quarter.
They put up a fight, but ultimately couldn’t overcome the Knicks. Gabe Vincent led the way for Miami with 21 points, while Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler added 16 and 12 points, respectively.
The loss was the Heat’s third straight, dropping them to seventh place in the Eastern Conference after finishing as the top seed last season.
The Knicks, meanwhile, have now won the series against the Heat and are four games ahead of them in the standings, as well as 2.5 games ahead of the Nets.
With Randle’s injury, the Knicks will hope to have him back soon as they look to secure a playoff spot and make a deep run in the postseason.
The Garden crowd also took a moment to celebrate Walt Frazier‘s birthday, singing Happy Birthday to the Knicks legend. Despite the loss of Randle, the Knicks showed grit and resilience in securing this important victory and will look to carry that momentum forward as they approach the end of the regular season.
Up-next: The Knicks (44-33) will travel to Cleveland to take on the fourth seed Cavaliers (48-29) on Friday night from 7:30pm