After stealing Game 1, the Miami Heat (1-0) hope to once again pull off the upset against the New York Knicks (0-1). Both teams may be far from full strength, as Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle are questionable while Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro are out.
Check out below for Heat vs. Knicks predictions, odds, trends, and starting lineups.
Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks Prediction
Prediction: Knicks -5.5 (grabbed it early), but would play -8.5 too
Miami ranks 27th defending catch and shoot threes in terms of opponent shot quality and allows them at the 3rd highest frequency (per ShotQuality). New York exploited this deficiency and secured 31 open and wide open 3PA; however, they shot an abysmal 19.3% on those attempts. Granted, the Knicks are far from an elite three-point unit, but they should experience dramatic improvement in Game 2. Their offense would experience a significant boost as a result.
The Heat dominated the free throw battle; they were 23/29 while the Knicks were 12/20. The gap will shrink in Game 2 though as Butler is the main free throw drawer for the Heat. Plus, it’s unlikely New York shoots 60% from the charity stripe again.
I also expect a superior game plan for the Knicks. They were using Josh Hart as a screener in the high pick and roll, but Miami simply ignored Hart’s potential pop and played drop coverage. This clogged the driving lanes for Brunson, who struggled to shake off Kyle Lowry. Sending Toppin or Randle to screen instead would introduce the real threat of a three-pointer, and a big would be the second defender rather than a guard or forward. That difference makes Brunson’s life much easier on the drive since he’s too quick for a big like Kevin Love.
Meanwhile, Miami’s offense will struggle to consistently create quality possessions without Butler. Adebayo and Lowry seem like the best options, but this is a Knicks squad that allowed the third fewest FGA within eight feet of the basket and the 6th lowest FG%. Asking Adebayo to dominate inside against a defender of Robinson’s magnitude isn’t a recipe for success across a full game. Lowry and Vincent were keeping Miami afloat, yet it’s difficult to trust both their efficiency and playmaking every possession.
Overall, if the Knicks equalize free throws and hit open threes, then their offense should be more efficient on a per possession basis. I’m expecting their screening offense to tweak its game plan too, which should result in better looks. Plus, Butler is Miami’s rock on offense and defense, so he’s a massive loss.
Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks Betting Odds
The Knicks are a solid 8.5 point favorite here with a -385 moneyline. For Miami’s +320 moneyline to be a profitable play, they must win this game at least 24% of the time. The over under sits at a miniscule 206.5 points, which is reasonable considering the pace and defenses. Based on the lines, it’s reasonable to assume that Butler is in more danger of missing this contest compared to Brunson.
- Heat are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings
- Over is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings
- Heat are 12-5 ATS in the last 17 meetings in New York
- Under is 21-6 in the last 27 meetings in New York
Which teams will win the game-determining matchups?
Knicks Offensive Rebounding
The Knicks ranked 2nd in offensive rebound percentage during the regular season, and they abused Cleveland on the offensive glass in the First Round. However, Miami allowed the 4th lowest offensive rebound percentage during the regular season, and they managed to somewhat limit New York in Game 1. It’s imperative for Miami that they constantly box out Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle. Otherwise, the Knicks will rack up extra possessions and gain a massive advantage.
Duncan Robinson 3PT Shooting
He’s my X Factor for the Heat because of his ability to flip a switch and get scorching hot. He can slash any lead through a barrage of threes or extend a lead to double digits in an instant. However, Robinson routinely has horrific shooting nights, which means the Heat are trotting out a player that brings negative value on both ends of the court. Miami won Game 1 despite Robinson going 0/5 on threes, but Butler’s injury likely forces the Heat to need a good Robinson shooting night.
Miami Heat Starting Lineups
New York Knicks Starting Lineups
Miami Heat Injuries: Jimmy Butler (O), Tyler Herro (O), Victor Oladipo (O), Haywood Highsmith (P)
New York Knicks Injuries: Jalen Brunson (Q), Julius Randle (Q), Jericho Sims (O)