2023 Playoffs: East Conf. Semifinal | Knicks vs. Heat

5 takeaways from Heat's victory over Knicks in Game 4

Miami punished New York inside, the Knicks couldn't do the same from the outside, and Jimmy Butler's health is worth watching.

The Heat's work on the offensive glass in the 4th quarter helps them power past the Knicks and snag a 3-1 series edge.

The Miami Heat, the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference and a team that had a negative point differential in the regular season, are one win from the conference finals.

For the second straight series, the Heat outplayed what should have been a desperate opponent in Game 4, and they now have 3-1 lead in their conference semifinal series against the New York Knicks after a 109-101 victory in Miami on Monday. Jimmy Butler led the way once again, scoring a team-high 27 points, while adding six rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and two blocks.

Here are some notes, numbers and film from a game that the Heat controlled from start to finish …

1. Second (and third and fourth) chances

In the Knicks’ victory in Game 2 of this series, they had a trip down the floor that lasted 67 seconds, culminating in a Josh Hart 3-pointer on their fifth shot of the possession. The Heat didn’t match that in Game 4, but they came close with a 58-second possession early in the fourth quarter. They worked late into the clock, grabbed two offensive rebounds and drew a loose-ball foul on Jalen Brunson on a third.

They didn’t score on that trip, with Caleb Martin missing their fourth shot of the possession, but the Heat got more second chances after that. They shot just 6-for-22 (including 0-for-9 from 3-point range) in the fourth quarter, but they had as many offensive rebounds (seven) as the Knicks had defensive rebounds. With the loose-ball foul and a rebound that went off New York, the Heat also had two “team” offensive rebounds, while the Knicks had just one team defensive rebound.

(There was also a play where RJ Barrett stepped out of bounds after grabbing a defensive board. It was originally scored a team offensive rebound for Miami, but was changed to a defensive rebound and turnover.)

The Heat have had possession of the ball longer than the Knicks in every game, mostly because their offense has often gone late in the shot clock. Game 4 — with Miami grabbing 13 offensive rebounds and totaling 17 second chance points (to the Knicks seven) — had the biggest time-of-possession discrepancy of the series thus far. In fact, Miami’s average of 16.8 seconds per possession was their second highest mark of the season (93 total games), according to Second Spectrum tracking.

The Knicks dominated the glass in their first round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. But the Heat have been able to limit New York’s offensive boards (to a certain degree), and they’ve been the team with more second-chance points in each of the last two games.

2. Knicks can’t put both ends together

The Knicks shot 32% on 3-pointers in a Game 4 loss to Heat.

This was a one-point game after the first quarter, but the Knicks’ offense had a brutal second quarter, scoring just 18 points on 22 possession to allow the Heat to gain some separation. With Immanuel Quickley (ankle) out, Brunson played the first 14:05 of the game. But when he finally sat down with 9:55 left in the second quarter, the Knicks didn’t have Julius Randle on the floor. Instead, they had a lineup of Miles McBride, RJ Barrett, Hart, Obi Toppin and Isaiah Hartenstein.

That unit got a couple of second-chance buckets, but the Knicks (who had a terrific bench in the regular season) continue to lose the bench minutes in this series. And when the starters returned in that second period, they couldn’t find an offensive rhythm. They had more turnovers (four) than scores (three) over the final six minutes of the first half, a stretch highlighted by an incredible block by Butler after Quentin Grimes blew past Max Strus.

The Knicks’ offense was back in the third period, when the Knicks scored 33 points on just 22 possessions … and lost the quarter by one. When they had it going on one end of the floor, they struggled on the other end.

On the very first possession of the second half, Barrett and Mitchell Robinson allowed Butler to slide between them for an and-one layup. Midway through the period, the Heat got Randle switched onto Butler and then put him and Robinson into a pick-and-roll. Randle never got back in front and Robinson never stopped the ball.

Jimmy Butler drive

3. Heat keep moving

The Knicks had some good defensive moments in that third quarter and sometimes, the Heat just hit tough shots late in the clock. But Miami also just outworked the Knicks on certain possessions, keeping the ball and bodies moving until they got a decent look.

According to Second Spectrum, the Heat had 316 total passes in Game 4, their highest total of the series. And though the Heat aren’t defending them much differently, the Knicks had just 225 passes, their fewest since Game 1 (214).

4. Butler more of a one-way player on one ankle

Butler scored 27 points and had that big block on Grimes, but he’s seemingly still not 100 percent after suffering a right ankle injury in the fourth quarter of Game 1 and missing Game 2. And it’s on defense where his lack of mobility has been apparent.

Midway through the first quarter, Barrett beat Butler off the dribble, going right. Midway through the third, he did it again. And midway through the fourth, it was Brunson who dusted him, going baseline…

Jalen Brunson drive

Barrett was pretty aggressive against Butler from the start, but the other Knicks didn’t attack him much.

5. Counter the denial

The Heat had more purpose in making Brunson work. He also got blown by on defense and, at times, Gabe Vincent made the Knicks point guard work extra on offense by denying him the ball.

On New York’s first possession of the third quarter, Vincent didn’t let Brunson catch the inbounds pass and then didn’t let Barrett get him the ball as they moved up the floor…

Gabe Vincent defense vs. Jalen Brunson

A few possessions later, the Knicks countered the denial by having Brunson set a screen for Barrett. Butler kept Barrett in front of him by sliding under the two-man blockade, but Brunson got free and was able to get to his office (the paint)…

Jalen Brunson floater

The Knicks did the same thing on the following possession, but Vincent blitzed the screen, pushing Barrett back and allowing Strus to come from the weak side and steal the pass to Brunson…

Max Strus steal and dunk

That’s been the story of this series. The Knicks have found pockets of success, but the Heat have had the answers. And with that, New York’s season is on the brink.

Game 5 is back in New York on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT).

* * *

John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Warner Bros. Discovery.