The eight seed Miami Heat have amplified the pressure on the Knicks by taking a commanding 3-1 series lead after their game four victory. It was an unusual performance as their offense took center stage over their defense, seemingly finding their shots with ease against the Knicks interior. They now come in as a +4 underdog in a potential series ending game five as they head back to New York. With the Knicks having no answers on how to limit the Heat offense, my prediction is that Miami keeps this close and covers the spread.
Miami Heat vs New York Knicks Prediction
The Heat’s ability to generate scoring consistency on offense has been their bugaboo throughout the year. That was until the start of the playoffs as this team looks completely different with the way they have attacked the Knicks defense. Jimmy Butler finally cooled off by “only” scoring 27 points, relying more on his teammates to pick up the scoring pace as Bam Adebayo finished with 23 and Max Strus with 16.
Their defense uncharacteristically took a step back in game four as they struggled to contain the driving paths of Jalen Brunson who finished with 32. An odd performance as the Heat had no trouble limiting the scoring of Julius Randle on the block, yet failed to find success at defending the mid-range with bodies already hovering around the area. This is not something that gives me pause in backing the Heat as they have been white hot on defense by ranking first in the league in Defensive Efficiency since the start of round 2 per TeamRankings.
In fact, I only have more confidence in the Heat’s ability to get the job done as they were able to ramp up the scoring pace to help out their regressing defense. The Knicks interior has been gashed through the middle all series long, being forced to scramble and exposing themselves with self created gaps in their coverage. A detrimental style of play against the Knicks defense as they can not afford to stretch out Robinson or Randle for help defense with Bam Adebayo lurking on the block as a prolific scoring big man.
Miami Heat vs New York Knicks Betting Odds
Even while looking thoroughly better in three of the four games thus far, oddsmakers have tempered their expectations of the Heat finishing this one out as they opened Miami as a +3 underdog in game five. Bettors are backing the Knicks as well, taking them up to -4 as of writing. Hitting the key number of +4, this became a play for me at the current number. I also have intentions of adding more should the number continue to rise.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a premium as oddsmakers have opened the number at 210. Bettors were quick to back the under, instantly taking it down to as low as 208.5 in some shops. I lean towards the under as well but sadly missed out on the opening number. This has now gone too low for my liking, making this a pass for me.
- Heat are 13-5 ATS in the last 18 meetings in New York
- Heat are 4-0 ATS in each playoff game this series so far against the Knicks
- Under is 20-6 in the last 26 matchups against each other in New York
Can the Heat continue to limit the Knicks interior scoring?
Knicks interior offense Vs. Bam Adebayo
While the Heat have struggled to get the ball out of Jalen Brunson’s hands, they have done a masterful job of limiting their other go-to scorer in Julius Randle. This has been done by assigning Bam Adebayo onto Randle, using his size and length to force Randle into low quality scoring opportunities.
With Randle struggling to get it going, we may see Adebayo slowly creep away from the paint in an attempt to negate Brunson’s drives as well. Forcing Brunson to stop and pop is a better option than a layup, potentially drastically reducing the Knicks scoring pace.
Adebayo’s elite defensive prowess is a key reason why I believe the Heat cover the spread in my Heat +4 prediction.
"Maybe they want it more. I don't know. That's who we've been all year and we've gotta find a way to step up and make those plays if we want to keep this season alive"
– Julius Randle on the Heat being the team to come up with offensive rebounds and loose balls pic.twitter.com/wqaJpoAcpj
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) May 9, 2023
Back the Heat at no lower than +4 as they should continue to roll and close out this series.
Miami Heat Starting Lineup
New York Knicks Starting Lineups
Miami Heat Injuries: Tyler Herro (O), Victor Oladipo (O)
New York Knicks Injuries: Immanuel Quickley (Q)