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Knicks v Heat Playoffs: What To Look For In Game 3

knicks v heat playoffs

Reviewing the Twitter feed today, you wouldn’t know the Knicks are in the second round of the NBA playoffs. With much of the conversation centered around Giannis being traded to New York, you might think the Knicks are in Tijuana with Trae Young.

Despite the rumors, we are in fact in the midst of a conference semifinal playoff matchup with the Miami Heat. With the series tied at 1 – 1, the Knicks must be prepared. After losing home court and rough first two games, all eyes will be on their adjustments.

Even without Jimmy Butler in Game 2, it was a hard fought win at Madison Square Garden. I don’t know about you, but when Caleb Martin hit a 3 to go up 6 in the 4th, I thought the game might out of reach.

Having reached the second round for the first time since 2013. The New York Knicks have defied the odds of the media. Whilst Knick fans aren’t surprised, we still have unfinished business.

While the series is tied, Tom Thibodeau must make adjustments. Exactly what they will be, we don’t know, but these are some adjustments and expectations we are thinking about ahead of game 3.

Knicks to attack Love and Robinson

The Miami Heat at times have sacrificed defensive ability for shooting. Kevin Love and Duncan Robinson are the clear examples of this.

Love and Robinson are seeing the floor for their shooting and nothing else. With this in mind, the Knicks have done little to expose them on defense. Expect New York to attack them and force Erik Spoelstra into a tough position.

These are two players that are capable of scoring 20+ efficiently. Allowing them to get off to a hot start puts Miami in the front seat and is a bad sign for the Knicks.

Heat attempting to slow down RJ Barrett

RJ Barrett has been on one of the most impressive runs of his career. Throughout the season, his offensive efficiency and defensive effort were in question. In the playoffs, this feels like a distant memory.

Miami may have felt like Barrett would slow down as they forced him to be a shooter. This has not been the case. Barrett has not only continued his efficient scoring, but he’s been a solid decision maker setting up team mates and fighting on the defensive end.

Throughout these playoffs, RJ has been the catalyst of the Knicks offense. He has kept the Knicks in games while Brunson heats up and takes over down the stretch.

Given his stellar play, we suspect the Miami Heat to make some adjustments and attempt to slow down RJ Barrett.

A double team might be too aggressive, but we could see Jimmy Butler matchup on him. Taking RJ out of the game, crowding the middle of the paint forcing the ball out of Brunson’s hands, means Josh Hart, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes will need to make plays.

Will Miami continue to give the Knicks open 3’s

We expect the Miami Heat to continue with this game plan. The Knicks greatly improved their 3 point shooting in game 2, although for the playoffs, it was the first game shooting above 30% from 3.

It is likely the Heat accept this as an aberration.

Hart and Barrett made big shots in game 2, but Quickley and Grimes are still yet to meet the moment. Expect Miami to continue crowding Brunson and Randle, forcing the Knicks supporting cast to beat them.

Immanuel Quickley to bust out of the slump

In fairness to Quickley, the ball has been taken out of his hands in the playoffs. Brunson has been leading the offense and playing more minutes. This has impacted his ability to get into a rhythm.

We believe Tom Thibodeau will look to get Quickley more involved in game 3. For the Knicks to go where they want, they will need him to provide a big scoring punch off the bench.

To do this, we could see Quickley run more of the offense at times. This leaves Brunson to play more off the ball. Ultimately, this would allow Brunson to get some rest while on the floor and get Quickley more involved in the offense.

Expect Jimmy Butler to play at elite level

For the Knicks, with Jimmy Butler coming off a week of rest, we should expect him to be a full strength in this game.

In game 1, Butler went off for 25 pts, 11 rebs and 4 asts. Not to mention his elite defensive capabilities.

Butler is the anchor for this team. If he is on the floor, he will be the leader for Miami giving them a guy that can take over and make clutch shots down the stretch. A luxury they did not have in game 2.


In conclusion, despite the media hype and rumors surrounding potential trades, the New York Knicks are in a fight in this second round playoff series. With the series tied at 1 – 1, the Knicks must be prepared to make adjustments and improve their performance.

The article highlights some key areas where the Knicks could improve, such as attacking Love and Robinson on defense.

For Miami, they will look to find ways to slow down RJ Barrett, and get Immanuel Quickley more involved in the offense.

Additionally, with Jimmy Butler coming off a week of rest, the Knicks should be prepared for him to play at an elite level and lead the Miami Heat to victory if given the opportunity.

Ultimately, the Knicks have defied expectations and reached the second round for the first time since 2013, but they still have unfinished business and must continue to work hard to advance in the playoffs.

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