By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The New York Knicks lived another day and avoided elimination after taking down the Miami Heat, 112-103, in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference NBA Playoffs matchup last May 11, 2023.
Jalen Brunson showed an out-of-this-world motor and endurance after playing all of the game’s 48 minutes and led the Knicks with a game-high 38-point performance built from an efficient 12/22 shooting from the field.
The hefty leftie was in attack mode from the get-go and just penetrated at will inside the tough Miami interior to generate quick buckets.
New York head coach Tom Thibodeau showed a major adjustment in their Game 5 play style and ordered his wards to attack soon as they caught the leather.
With the Knicks perfectly executing their fast-paced rhythm, Miami’s signature half-court defense was always late to rotate that haunted them all night.
Miami was off to a rousing start in the opening frame after taking a 10-point lead, 24-14, and was looking to blow the game wide-open game just like Game 4.
However, Brunson spearheaded a much-needed New York offensive rally at the start of the second quarter to erase Miami’s lead.
New York then stepped on the gas pedal in the third quarter when they established their largest lead of the game and the series at 19 points, 73-54.
Just when the Knicks thought they could steamroll past Miami in a jiffy, the Heat’s resiliency once again rose to the occasion after trimming their deficit to just a deuce, 103-101, with only 2:17 remaining in the game.
Fortunately, New York was able to score a crucial tip-in dunk courtesy of Isaiah Hartenstein that extended their lead to four points, 105-101.
The Heat failed to cash in crucial buckets that could’ve kept the game close and saw a red-hot New York team end up with seven more points in the final two minutes of the game.
Backstopping Brunson during the big-time win were Julius Randle and RJ Barrett who scored 28 and 26 points, respectively.
On the other hand, none of the Miami players reached the 20-point mark as Jimmy Butler only had 19 markers while Bam Adebayo added 18 points.
The Heat will look to close out the series on May 13, 2023, in front of an expected sell-out home floor at the Kaseya Center.