Heat take 3-1 lead, hold off Knicks 109-101 for Game 4 win

Heat take 3-1 lead, hold off Knicks 109-101 for Game 4 win

The lead was shaky at times. The shooting went cold. The building got tense. There were moments when the Miami Heat looked like they were about to get themselves into trouble.

And they found a way — again.

The unpredictable ride of the eighth-seeded Heat continues, with Miami on the brink of yet another trip to the Eastern Conference finals. Jimmy Butler had 27 points and 10 assists, Bam Adebayo finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds and the Heat topped the New York Knicks 109-101 on Monday night.

“It was great that we were able to hold home court,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But we know we have a task in New York.”

They’ll take a 3-1 lead into Madison Square Garden for Game 5 on Wednesday night, one win from wrapping up this East semifinal matchup and returning to the conference finals for the third time in four years.

“We’ve got a job to do,” Butler said, “and I think we’re very capable.”

Jalen Brunson finished with 32 points and 11 assists for fifth-seeded New York, while RJ Barrett had 24 points and Julius Randle scored 20 for the Knicks before fouling out with about three minutes left.

“You’ve got to win four to win a series,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “So, all we’re thinking about is win the next game. Go quarter by quarter. Win the first quarter, win the second quarter, win the third, win the fourth. And then the next day we’ll think about the next day.”

Miami missed 12 of its first 15 shots of the fourth quarter, but the Knicks didn’t take full advantage — trimming only three points off the Heat lead in that span. It was nine entering the fourth, and a pair of free throws by Brunson with 4:40 left got New York within 99-93.

But a slam by Martin breathed some life into an antsy building, and the roars got a bit louder about a minute later. With the Knicks down seven, Randle went into the lane but Strus beat him to the spot, drawing contact that became the New York star’s sixth foul with 3:08 left. The Heat held control the rest of the way.

The Knicks never led in Game 3, then held the lead twice in Game 4.


They had a pair of one-point leads in the opening quarter, for a combined 33 seconds, with Miami erasing the deficits with immediate baskets on its next possession.

But unlike Game 3, when Miami’s lead was double digits for nearly the entirety of the final three quarters, this one remained in some doubt much of the way.

“We’re kind of fighting an uphill battle,” Brunson said. “Didn’t do enough within the 48 minutes.”

A Miami team that was about 3 minutes from getting eliminated in the play-in tournament is now one win from the NBA’s final four.

It might be unexpected to many — but not to the Heat.

“We’ve been tested this year,” Strus said. “And we knew that when the battles would come, we’d be ready for it.”


Knicks: Immanuel Quickley, who sprained his left ankle late in Game 3, was out. His status for Game 5 isn’t clear, and he’s listed as day-to-day. … New York changed its starting lineup, with Quentin Grimes — who was celebrating his 23rd birthday — in for Josh Hart. … The Knicks gave up six offensive rebounds in the first three quarters combined, then gave up seven in the fourth alone.


The win was the 103rd playoff victory for Spoelstra. He becomes the third coach with that many playoff wins with one team; Gregg Popovich has 170 with San Antonio, and Phil Jackson had 118 with the Los Angeles Lakers and 111 with Chicago.

Pat Riley — the Heat president, Spoelstra’s boss and his predecessor as Heat coach — won 102 with the Lakers.


The Heat have a chance to reach the East finals on Wednesday — and so does South Florida’s NHL team. The Florida Panthers lead their second-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0, with Game 4 of that matchup in Sunrise, Florida on Wednesday night.