Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) scores over New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Michael Laughlin)

Jimmy Butler’s Big Night Helps Heat Secure Win Over Knicks

The Miami Heat defeated the New York Knicks Wednesday night 127-120 at Miami-Dade Arena. The Heat got 35 points from perennial all-star Jimmy Butler, who went 11-19 from the field and 11-14 from the free throw line. Tyler Herro added 22 points in the win, including 14 in the fourth quarter.

Butler and Herro were two of six Heat players to score in double figures as their offense was on all night. Miami shot 57% from the floor, including going 16-28 from downtown.

The Heat’s explosive offense helped Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra secure his 700th win of his head coaching career.

This was the Heat’s fourth win in their last five games and seventh in the last 10. With the postseason drawing closer, Miami is just a few percentage points behind the No. 6 Brooklyn Nets for the final guaranteed playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

With the victory, the Heat improved to 40-34 on the season, while the Knicks fell to 43-32.

Tight First Half

It was a back-and-forth first half in Miami.

The Knicks got out to an 8-2 lead in the opening minutes thanks to four early points from Julius Randle and a Quentin Grimes three-pointer. The Heat responded by going on a 10-2 run of their own a few minutes later. At the end of the first, New York had a narrow 32-31 lead after a buzzer-beating jumper from Miami’s Caleb Martin.

The second quarter was much of the same as neither team was able to pull away.

With just over two minutes to play in the quarter, the Heat got their biggest advantage of the half when Butler was left wide-open on the right wing and knocked down a three to extend their lead to nine at 60-51.

New York closed out the half on a 10-4 run, but Miami still led 64-61 going into the break.

Heat Big in Clutch Time

Gabe Vincent opened the second half with a floater from the free-throw line for the Heat. He finished with 19 points on 8-12 shooting, including 3-5 from three-point range.

With four minutes to go in the third quarter, Butler got the crowd going with a 6-0 run of his own. It started when he hit a turnaround jumper, got fouled and converted the and-1 free throw. On the next possession, he knocked down another fadeaway jump shot. He then made a technical free throw as Randle was called for the foul. This extended Miami’s lead to 11.

With seconds to play in the third, Heat guard Kyle Lowry made a floater in the lane. This put Miami up 92-86 heading into the final quarter.

Butler and Herro took over in the fourth quarter for the Heat. Herro drained back-to-back three-pointers in the first minute to set the tone.

Halfway through the quarter, Butler came back into the game for Miami. At the time he returned, the Heat were up 101-100. In the next three minutes, Miami went on a 13-2 run to extend its lead to 12. This was capped off by a corner-three by Herro. He made four of his five attempts from beyond the arc in the fourth en route to a 14-point quarter.

Buter scored six of the final eight points for the Heat, including two free throws with 34.1 seconds to go to seal the victory.

Miami won by a final score of 127-120.

Big Matchup With Nets Up Next

After their win against the Knicks, the Heat have just eight games remaining in the regular season. Their next game will come against the team they are battling for playoff position with: the Brooklyn Nets.

Miami lost the first two matchups with the Nets this season. However, Brooklyn has lost its last four games while the Heat are moving in the opposite direction. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. on Saturday in Miami.

About Hugh Green

Hugh is a third year student majoring in Journalism: Sports and Media at the University of Florida.

Check Also

Pacers Set NBA Playoff Record, Advance To Eastern Conference Finals

The Indiana Pacers shot a NBA playoff record 67.1% from the field in Game 7 …