Knicks takeaways from Saturday’s Game 3 105-86 loss to Heat, including poor shooting

May 6, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) dribbles the ball past Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent (2) during the first quarter of game three of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Kaseya Center.
May 6, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) dribbles the ball past Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent (2) during the first quarter of game three of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Kaseya Center. / Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Butler returned for the Heat and Miami took it to the Knicks in Game 3 as New York lost 105-86 on Saturday afternoon.

Both Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle dealt with ankle injuries leading into Game 3 but started alongside RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Josh Hart.

Here are the takeaways….

- Butler made his presence felt in the opening minutes, getting to the basket and making effort plays on both sides of the ball. On the other end, the Knicks shot poorly and defended even worse, allowing Miami to get to the basket and hit open threes. Miami got out to a 21-10 start with 4:20 to go in the first quarter and Tom Thibodeau had to call two timeouts in that span.

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Out of the timeout, Quentin Grimes and Isaiah Hartenstein came in for Barrett and Robinson and the Knicks would slowly cut the Heat lead by getting to the basket and with improved defense. Brunson started 0-for-5 from the field before making his first basket with 2:45 remaining. However, Butler continued to use his defense to create offense for the Heat.

The referees let both teams play, holding their whistles on many drives to the basket, with seven free throws total (Knicks 5, Heat 2) being taken. The Knicks would end the first quarter down 29-21. The Knicks shot 8-for-25 (32 percent) from the field including 0-for-4 from downtown. Miami shot 13-for-24 (54 percent) including 1-for-5 from three. The Heat led the Knicks with points in the pain (22-16). Butler had 10 points, two rebounds, one assist and two blocks to lead the Heat. Despite his slow start, Brunson led the Knicks with nine points and four rebounds.

- The Knicks’ secondary unit started the second quarter, but the Heat got back-to-back threes from Duncan Robinson and Haywood Highsmith. A frustrated Barrett threw the ball into the stanchion and picked up a technical as the Heat built their lead to 39-23 at the 10:16 mark. The Heat would increase their lead to 18 after Grimes air-balled a layup expecting contact, which forced a Thibodeau timeout. At this point, the Heat bench outscored the Knicks’ 14-0.

- Loose balls, contested shots going in, the Heat feasted on both to build their lead. However, a 7-2 run -- including the Knicks’ first three of the game, by Quickley -- with 6:10 remaining -- cut Miami’s lead to 46-34 and led to an Erik Spoelstra timeout. Both teams would go back-and-forth, with the Knicks playing better defense to get the Heat shooting just 1-for-11 over a four-minute span. This allowed the Knicks to cut the deficit to 10 when Butler hit his first field goal of the quarter, an and-one layup. In the final two minutes, the Knicks settled for three attempts which allowed Miami to build their lead back up. Some ill-advised fouls and missed free throws almost had the Heat run away with the lead, but a last-second long two-pointer by Randle had New York down just 58-44 going into the half.


- The Knicks’ shooting struggles continued, shooting 8-for-22 (36 percent) including 2-for-12 from three in the second quarter. The Heat shot just 28 percent in the second quarter, but made the plays when it mattered and were sound on defense. The Knicks were outscored, 32-24, in the paint, the bench was outscored 21-11 and the Heat had more second-chance points, 9-6.

Brunson continued to lead the Knicks as the only player with double-digit points (14). Randle had just six points, with nine rebounds, at the half, while Hart scored seven points but came down with six rebounds. Brunson, Randle and Barrett were a combined 9-for-29 at the half.

- The first unit started the third quarter and used the zone defense at the start. Max Strus began the scoring with a three but Barrett answered with a three of his own.  However, the Heat would go on a run thanks to offensive rebounding from Bam Adebayo and more poor shooting from the Knicks. Miami would increase their lead to 21 with less than two minutes to go in the quarter. In the final seconds of the quarter, Randle and Brad Zeller -- who were battling down low on multiple possessions -- went at it after the Heat big man pushed Randle. Hartenstein picked up a technical for pushing Zeller after the initial incident. The encounter didn't amount to much as the Knicks finished the third down 87-70.

The Knicks shot 9-for-24 (38 percent) from the field and 4-for-14 from three. While the Heat didn't shoot much better (41 percent), they executed better all around.


- Turnovers plagued the Knicks in the early minutes of the fourth quarter with the second units on the floor. The Knicks bench played its worst game of the playoffs as they couldn't score or defend. The Heat kept their 20-point lead for the majority of the quarter, but the biggest concern was Quickley who left the game around the six-minute mark after falling over a Heat player. He limped to the locker room and didn't return.

The Knicks would claw back and cut the Heat lead to 13 with four minutes to go. Some big buckets down the stretch by the Heat stopped a late surge from the Knicks as New York fell, 105-86. The Knicks are now down 2-1 in the series.

While Quickley never returned, Brunson took a fall late in the fourth quarter and was noticeably hobbled down the stretch.

Butler finished with a game-high 28 points. Brunson finished with a team-high 20 points. Hart and Randle finished with double-doubles. Randle had 10 points and 14 rebounds while Hart finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.


What’s next

The Knicks look to bounce back in Game 4 as they take on the Heat in Miami on Monday at 7:30 p.m.