It was another forgettable night for the New York Knicks last night, as they fell to the Miami Heat by a final score of 109-101 in game 4 of this best-of-7 second-round series. The crowd at Kaseya Center was rocking as their hometown Heat took down New York for the second time at home, and the Knicks walked off the court with a daunting 3-1 series deficit as they head back home for game 5 on Wednesday.
The Knicks only held a lead twice the whole game, with both those leads coming late in the first quarter. New York just couldn’t keep up with Miami the whole night and were badly out-hustled, and it showed in the result of the game.
Many factors throughout the game contributed to this lethargic performance from New York, and the Knicks need to adjust going forward if they want to keep their season alive.
The Knicks need to control the glass
The Knicks were severely beaten on the boards in this affair, as Miami won the rebound battle 44-35. There were some possessions, especially late in the game, where the Knicks would have easy opportunities to grab a rebound but let it slip away. This happened because of being out-hustled by the Heat, who ended up getting most of the rebounds, and sometimes just a lack of awareness by Knicks players on the floor lost the Knicks valuable possessions and valuable time.
To be able to bounce back from this game and keep the season alive, New York must be able to beat Miami in the rebound battle and bring back the hustle and heart that got them to this point.
New York needs their stars to shine
Julius Randle finished game 4 with 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists – overall, relatively strong numbers. However, Randle got into foul trouble, fouling out with 3:08 to go in the game. He showed lackluster effort on the defensive end and has turned the ball over 10 times in the last two games. With the Knicks now on the brink of elimination, Randle has to step up and change his playoff narrative and, more importantly, keep the Knicks alive.
Mitchell Robinson also has a lackluster series and needs to step it up inside the paint. The Knicks center had an incredible first-round performance, with 11 offensive rebounds just in the final game in Cleveland. However, Robinson seems to have lost his opening-round form against Miami, with only 16 offensive rebounds in the series. With a defensive rating of 115.1, Mitch needs to retake control of the paint and the boards for the Knicks to have a chance.
Looking forward to game 5
The Knicks now head home to Madison Square Garden and will face elimination for the first time this season.
After Monday’s loss, Jalen Brunson spoke about his mindset in a post-game interview.
“My mindset, I think going forward, we’re on the brink of elimination, so [give] everything you got.”
Josh Hart had a similar message on what the approach for New York will be going forward.
“Get one, and then after we get one, just get one. Get that one; just get one [more]. We can’t look at it as down 3-1. We can’t at it as we need three wins. We got to look at it as we need to win one. We have to win every possession, every quarter. We can’t have any slip-ups. We have to pay attention to detail.”
Can the Knicks stay alive?
On Wednesday night at 7:30, the Knicks and Heat will take the floor at the World’s Most Famous Arena, and New York will look to keep their season alive. To have a chance, they have to return to form on the glass and beat Miami in the rebound battle, New York’s stars have to shine, and overall the Knicks cannot keep being out-hustled and outworked by Miami.
The season is on ice, and tomorrow the Knicks have to save it at the Mecca. It could be the end of a magical run, or it could be the beginning of a miracle comeback for New York.