New York Knicks in Trouble, Trail Miami Heat 3-1 in East Semis

Posted on: May 10, 2023, 08:30h. 

Last updated on: May 11, 2023, 01:42h.

The desperate New York Knicks are on the brink of elimination heading into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, after the Miami Heat took a 3-1 series lead. Based on past history, the Knicks’ outlook isn’t good: in the 14 prior instances in which the Knicks faced a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs, they failed to rally back and win the series every time.

Bam Adebayo Julius Randle
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) defends forward Julius Randle (30) from the New York Knicks in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla. (Image: AP)

Meanwhile, the Heat are a perfect 14-0 when they build a 3-1 series lead.

You’ve got to win four to win a series,” said Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau. “All we’re thinking about is win the next game. Win the first quarter, win the second quarter, win the third, win the fourth. And then the next day, we’ll think about the next day.”

A total of 13 teams in NBA playoff history were able to erase a 3-1 deficit and storm back to win the series. The Knicks will attempt to become the 14th team.

The Heat are huge favorites to win the series, but the Knicks are -2.5 favorites at home at Madison Square Garden in Game 5. After going 4-1 against the spread in the opening round against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Knicks are 0-4 ATS versus the Heat.

The Heat are the fourth-worst betting team in the NBA this season, with a 39-51-3 ATS record. Yet, the Heat covered their last seven playoff games, including all four against the Knicks. They’re 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games, including the postseason and an Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament game that helped them clinch the #8 seed.

Short-Handed Heat Keep Winning

The Heat lost two key shooting guards, starter Tyler Herro and backup Victor Oladipo, and are still only one game away from a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Jimmy Butler missed Game 2 with an ankle injury, which was the only game they dropped in the series. A sprained ankle slowed Butler down, but he’s still averaging 26.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. The Knicks have been swarming Butler with aggressive double teams, but he’s still picking them apart.

I actually love being double-teamed because that just means one of my teammates are open,” Butler told The Athletic. “If I don’t find them, somebody’s going to find them.”

Center Bam Adebayo scored 23 points and added 13 rebounds in a Game 4 victory, which marked his best scoring performance in the postseason.

After getting outrebounded in the first two games, the Heat crashed the glass and tallied more rebounds than the Knicks in each of the last two games.

The Heat’s bench outscored the Knicks’ second unit this series (116-62) by 54 points. In Game 4, the Heat’s second unit outgunned the Knicks, 32-10, thanks to 15 points from backup point guard Kyle Lowry and 10 points from forward Caleb Martin.

Out-of-Sync Julius Randle

The Knicks dug themselves into a 3-1 hole, but most of their problems are fixable. They were simply outhustled in all three losses, generated too many costly turnovers, and played horrible defense.

The Heat got to offensive rebounds, to loose balls, they’ve got some tough guys that get respect,” said swingman RJ Barrett said. “They’re working hard, getting calls, they’re getting rebounds. They’re playing hard.”

The Heat dominated the Knicks with 13 offensive rebounds in Game 4, including seven in the fourth quarter.

“I got to be better,” said center Mitchell Robinson. “I got to have more energy, more urgency.”

“We gotta get a body on people,” said Thibodeau. “They’re shooting long. We’re running in and the ball was going over our head.”

Forward Julius Randle has been playing through a painful ankle injury, which kept him out of Game 1. Randle averages only 18.3 points per game this series while shooting 22.2% from 3-point range.

Randle has drawn the ire of fans for his lackadaisical effort, particularly on defense in Game 4. Randle set the tone early in the first quarter with several poor plays on both ends of the court during the first couple of possessions. Fans knew it was going to be a long night if Randle was arguing with officials over a missed foul call instead of hustling back on defense.

“Maybe they want it more,” deadpanned Randle after Game 4’s defeat.

Betting the Knicks/Heat in Game 5

With one more victory, the Heat will make NBA history as the first #8 seed to secure a spot in the Eastern Conference finals. The Heat are currently -800 odds to knock out the Knicks and win the series. The Knicks are +550 odds to rally back and win three games in a row to defeat the Heat and advance to the conference finals.

FiveThirtyEight updated its NBA playoffs projection. The Knicks have only a 12% chance to erase their 3-1 deficit and defeat the Heat. The Knicks have a 3% chance to reach the NBA Finals, but only a 1% chance to win the championship.

The Heat have an 88% chance to win this series, according to FiveThirtyEight. They also have a 25% chance to secure a spot in the 2023 NBA Finals with an 11% chance to win the title.

The Heat are only +1400 odds to win the 2022-23 NBA championship, and the Knicks are the long shot on the futures board at +9000 odds.

The Denver Nuggets are the outright favorite to win the championship at DraftKings at +300 odds after taking a 3-2 series lead against the Phoenix Suns (+1100). The Philadelphia 76ers saw a bump in their title odds to +340 after they seized a 3-2 series lead over the Boston Celtics (+400) on Tuesday night. The Los Angeles Lakers are now +340 odds to win the championship after they surged ahead 3-1 in their semifinal series against the defending champion Golden State Warriors (+1600).

In Eastern Conference futures, the Knicks plummeted to +2500 odds, and trail the 76ers (-105), Boston Celtics (+220), and Heat (+330).