Knicks’ perpetually austere coach Tom Thibodeau smiled during his usual earnings analysis after New York’s victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night.
“You know what I always say about winning,” said Thibodeau. “Winning is more fun than fun.”
Either the Knicks or the Miami Heat will go big on Wednesday night, making the other team miserable in the process.
The Knicks and Heat each look to ease their way to a Top 6 finish in the Eastern Conference when New York hosts Miami in the regular-season finale between longtime rivals.
The Knicks were off Tuesday after a 137-115 win over the visiting Rockets on Monday night. The Heat is set to complete his set on the road for the second time after his 106-92 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.
New York (43-33) posted a three-game losing streak to remain fifth in the East, 2.5 games ahead of the sixth-placed Brooklyn Nets (40-35) and three games ahead of the Heat (40-40). -36). The top six teams in each conference will qualify for the playoffs, and from 7th to 10th place clubs will compete in play-ins in his tournament to determine his final two seeds.
Another win on Wednesday would give the Knicks a 1-1 tiebreaker with the Heat and further cement their place in the playoffs. While New York leads his series on the season with his two wins and one loss, Miami won his 127-120 victory at the most recent conference in Florida on March 22nd.
Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley said of Wednesday’s contest, after scoring a career-high 40 points on Monday night, “It’s definitely going to feel like a playoff.” is a very good team, but I think we’re ready for the challenge. Playing team (a) four times is basically like a playoff series.”
The Heat have struggled in a playoff-like environment in their last two games. Miami gradually pulled away from the Raptors on Tuesday after he lost 129-100 to the visiting Nets on Saturday. Toronto overcame his 10-point deficit in the first quarter and at half he led 53-47. The Raptors then outscored the Heat 31-20 in the 3rd quarter and did not allow Miami to reduce the deficit to his single digits in the 4th quarter.
Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said, “We all have a certain view on this, but we’re going to regroup. “We have 24 hours. We can play at Madison Square Garden. Now I think about it.” That’s all there is to it.”
Miami continued its lengthy defensive slump, allowing at least 100 points in 14 straight games. The Heat also scored him 62 points in the paint. This is well above Miami’s 46.1 points allowed in the paint per season average, and his second-lowest points in the NBA alongside Cleveland’s Cavaliers. The Knicks lead its category with 45.9ppg.
“During the four and a half months of this season we have achieved the best paint protection in the league,” Spoelstra said. “Since the All-Star break, we haven’t done anything better than anyone else.”
Both teams may be missing key players in critical clashes.
Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson missed his second straight game on Monday with a sprained right hand and was in doubt on Wednesday.
Heat guard Jimmy Butler, who leads the team with 22.8 points per game, sat out Tuesday due to a neck injury.
–Field level media
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