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Ex-Heat Markieff Morris: Heat too ‘talented’ and ‘tough’ for Knicks

Before the Knicks tackled their 3-1 deficit and a must-win Game 5, Markieff Morris, an NBA veteran and a recent Heat player, predicted their quick downfall because the matchup was unfavorable.

“When you talk about Miami, they’re more talented, more tough and battle tested,” Morris, who played last season with the Heat, said on his Youtube series “Run Your Race.” “The three things you need, bro. Miami gets to the point when you need one more guy. And they’re doing this without Tyler Herro. Imagine if they had Tyler. This would’ve probably been a sweep.”

Herro, the Heat’s third leading scorer in the regular season, has missed the entire series because of a broken right hand. Still, the Heat emerged from the Play-In Tournament to pummel the top-seeded Bucks in the first round. Then they pushed the Knicks to the brink before Wednesday’s Game 5.

“I got Heat, 4-1. I think they close it out in five,” said Morris, who played for the Nets last season before getting traded with Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks. “This is not a good matchup for the Knicks.”

Morris, whose twin brother, Marcus, played a half-season with the Knicks in 2019-20, said the Heat culture isn’t a myth — “You might not be as skilled but you’re always going to be in the right place at the right time,” he said, “doing all the right sh— all the time.”

He also lauded Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who was pushing the right buttons against Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks. Morris said the Heat should also win the next round if the opponent is the Sixers, who are leading the Celtics in the conference semifinals, 3-2.

Morris clearly likes Spoelstra in his matchup against Doc Rivers.

“Spoelstra’s too much of a wizard to get beat by the Sixers,” Morris said. “He’s a real wizard when he comes to that game planning sh—.”

But as far as the Knicks-Heat series? Morris sees the opposite of what the Knicks faced in their Round 1 drubbing of the Cavaliers.

Cleveland matchup was perfect. They outtoughed them,” Morris said. “Cleveland got good players but they’re not battle tested. They’re not rugged enough for New York.”

Miami guard Max Strus said the key to his team’s playoff success — relative to its very pedestrian regular season — is the heroics of Jimmy Butler.

“I’d like to say it was a big thing. But a lot of it is just Jimmy Butler, man,” Strus said. “He’s been so good for us. He’s just carrying us on his back. ..We take things personal and nobody believed in us again. But we all believed in each other.”

Morris, who won a title with the Lakers in 2020, is also in awe of Butler in the playoffs.

“Playoff Jimmy,” Morris said. “There’s a couple guys I’ve been in the playoffs with me being there eight straight seasons. When you got guys turning into different people in the playoffs — it’s him and LeBron who stand out to the most to me.”