The Miami Heat have a chance to take a commanding lead over the New York Knicks when they host Game 4 of this Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup on Monday night.
The Heat’s stifling defense held the Knicks to just 86 points in a 19-point win in Game 3. Now the Knicks need to try to avoid falling down 3-1 in the series, and they are expected to be without Sixth Man of the Year finalist Immanuel Quickley, who is on the injury report with a sprained ankle.
Read on for in-depth analysis of this Game 4 matchup between the Heat and Knicks, including a betting prediction, odds, key matchups and starting lineups.
New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Game 4 Prediction
There is something about this Miami Heat team – they consistently find ways to win games in the playoffs. Maybe it’s the championship pedigree of coach Erik Spoelstra or the veteran leadership of Jimmy Butler, but this Heat team evokes confidence while the Knicks certainly do not.
New York had no answers for the Heat’s stifling defense in Game 3. Their leading scorer in the regular season, Julius Randle, looked slow and appeared to be struggling with the ankle injury that kept him out of Game 1. It seemed like any time he entered the paint, he just rammed futilely against the brick wall that is Bam Adebayo. Randle ended up scoring just 10 points on horrendous 4-of-15 shooting.
Butler may still be struggling with a sprained ankle of his own, but if he is then he is hiding it much better than Randle. He led all scorers with 28 points in Game 3 after missing the previous game with the ankle injury suffered in Game 1.
The Heat not only look like the better team in this series, but they are also the healthier team. The expected absence of Immanuel Quickley in this game is a big blow to the Knicks’ already struggling offense.
Despite the desperation I expect to see from the Knicks tonight, I have way more faith in the Heat right now.
New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Game 4 Betting Odds
The Heat opened as -3.5 favorites at home, and that line has moved to -4.5 as of this writing. The Heat’s moneyline odds have moved from -165 to -180, while Knicks’ moved from +140 to +155.
The public is leaning towards the Heat, which has helped to move the line slightly. Roughly 60% of the handle against the spread and 63% on the moneyline is on Miami, per VSiN.
The over/under is set at 208, up slightly from the opening line of 206.5 thanks to the public hammering the over with 80% of the money.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Heat winning 106.25-101.75.
- The Heat are 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall, and 5-0 ATS in their last five home games.
- The Under is 5-0 in the Knicks’ last five road games, and 7-1 in their last eight games overall.
- The Over is 9-1 in the Heat’s last 10 home games, and 11-2 and in their last 13 games overall.
The Knicks need more from their big man Julius Randle, who matches up with a stout defender in Bam Adebayo. Both teams have struggled from three in this series, and if either team can find its stroke from long range, that could be the difference in the game.
Julius Randle vs. Bam Adebayo
It’s pretty simple for the Knicks: they simply cannot get another performance from Randle like they got in Game 3.
They don’t necessarily need their All-Star power forward to replicate what he did in Game 2 (25 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, 52.8% eFG%). They just need him to be a lot more efficient than he was in Game 3 (26.7% eFG% and a game-high four turnovers).
It is not all about scoring for Randle. With so much of the offense running through him, his passing and decision-making will be just as important. The Knicks want to play with better pace, which means Randle needs to make quicker decisions and do a better job of finding open teammates.
If Randle can not find a way to improve on his Game 3 performance, this series will be over quickly.
It will be a lot easier for Randle to operate if the Knicks can make a higher rate of three-pointers in this game, and the Heat could stand to improve in that area as well. The Heat have more of a track record from beyond the arc in the playoffs, boasting the third-best three-point percentage at 38%, while New York has shot just 27.8% from three in the playoffs (tied for last).
Both teams shot terribly from deep in Game 3 – 20% for New York and 21.9% for Miami. The team that can turn it around in Game 4 will have a significant edge in the final outcome.
New York Knicks Starting Lineups
Miami Heat Starting Lineups
New York Knicks Injuries: PG Immanuel Quickley (D – ankle)
Miami Heat Injuries: SF Jimmy Butler (Q – ankle), PF Caleb Martin (Q – back), SG Tyler Herro (O – hand), SG Victor Oladipo (O – knee)