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Knicks Notes: Rebounding battle has swayed series in Heat's favor

May 8, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin (16) look on during a free-throw attempt in the fourth quarter during game four of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Kaseya Center.

The Knicks were one of the NBA’s best rebounding teams in the regular season. They dominated Cleveland on the glass in the first round of the playoffs.

But it’s been a different story against the Heat.

Miami has held its own on the boards in this second round series, getting key rebounds in the first four games to build a 3-1 lead.

“We've got to limit them to one shot. I didn’t do a good job of it (in Game 4),” Mitchell Robinson said. “And I got to be better… I got to figure it out. I got to have more energy, more urgency, try to get the job done.”

The Heat matchup has been challenging for Robinson. Unlike Cavs big man Jarrett Allen, Miami’s Bam Adebayo and Kevin Love can play away from the basket.

This has neutralized Robinson over the first four games. Adebayo is averaging 17.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in the series.

“With Bam, he worked on his midrange. So that helps him out a lot. And I got to go help. By the time I get (to help) they throw it to him,” Robinson said. “Maybe if I just catch him in the outside game, and the guards throw it to him a little earlier when I’m not so far down, (it will help). It’s something where I just got to watch film on this plane ride and learn from my mistakes.”

In addition to his mid-range shooting, Adebayo has also done well on the offensive glass. He has 12 offensive rebounds against the Knicks. And the extra possession has loomed large in the series.

If you look at Game 1, Game 2 and Game 4, the Heat have taken 11 more shots than New York. Miami had four more offensive rebounds than the Knicks in their two wins at home. The Heat had 35 second-chance points over Games 3 and 4. New York had 21 second-chance points in that span.

Those extra possessions were pivotal late in Game 4. Miami had four offensive rebounds in the first five minutes of the quarter. They pulled down seven offensive boards in total in the fourth.

If the Knicks prevent those extra possessions, maybe they win the game.

Miami shot 6-for-22 in the fourth quarter and missed all nine of its three-point attempts. The Knicks had a chance to take the game - and even the series - but they couldn’t come up with enough timely rebounds.

“Just maybe they want it more. I don’t know,” Julius Randle said when asked about the Heat offensive rebounding. “That’s been who we are all year. Got to find a way to step up and make those plays, keep this season alive.”

BRUNSON BANGED UP

Jalen Brunson isn’t going to say that his ankle/foot injury is impacting his play. But it’s clear that he’s not 100 percent.

Sources familiar with the matter say Brunson has gotten treatment basically around the clock to be able to take the floor. Some Heat players did not expect Brunson to suit up for Game 2 due to his ankle/foot injury. He had 23 second-half points in that game to lift New York to a win.

Randle is also playing through ankle discomfort. But, like Brunson, he hasn’t spoken in detail about his injury.