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The Miami Heat (3-2) can go to their 2nd straight conference finals by beating the New York Knicks (2-3) at home in Game 6 of the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals.
New York evened the series with a 112-103 Game 5 win at the Garden on the back of Jalen Brunson. He scored a game-high 38 points Wednesday on 12-of-22 shooting with 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and one turnover.
The Heat won both games in Miami this series to put NYK’s backs against the wall. The Knicks pretty much no-showed in Game 3 and then couldn’t grab a rebound in the 4th quarter of their Game 4 loss.
Now that the series is back in Miami …
Everyone is expecting the Knicks to roll over
According to VSIN, roughly 80% of the action at DraftKings Sportsbook is on the Heat. Nearly the same rate of the consensus betting market is backing Miami, per Pregame.com.
Furthermore, the biggest talking point in recaps for Knicks-Heat Game 5 was how many minutes NYK’s starters played. Brunson and Knicks SG Quentin Grimes played all 48. I’m sorry, this is the playoffs.
I disregard the “fatigue” factor when it comes to the playoffs because it’s lazy analysis. Normal people cannot comprehend what professional athletes are capable of. Meaning, Brunson could play another full 48 Friday.
NYK needs Brunson out there. Brunson has a +19.1 adjusted on/off rating in these playoffs, according to CleaningTheGlass.com. The Knicks turn the ball over less when Brunson is on the floor and that’s their biggest weakness in this series.
The turnover rate is the only one of the “four factors” Miami has an edge in vs. New York. NYK is beating the Heat on the glass, getting to the foul line more, and shooting better from the field.
With all due respect to Playoff Jimmy Butler, this is the 2nd consecutive playoff series Brunson has been the best player on the floor.
New York has more guys that can get buckets
Since Game 2 of the 1st-round, Knicks SF R.J. Barrett is averaging 22.5 points per game (PPG) on 49.6% shooting (38.0% from 3). This has been vs. two of the best defenses in the NBA.
This season, New York’s 1st-round opponent — Cleveland Cavaliers — led the NBA in defensive efficiency, and Miami was 9th. Miami has two elite defenders, Butler and Bam Adebayo, who are preoccupied with Brunson and Julius Randle.
Barrett will continue to get the easier matchup of the three if Randle and Brunson play well. Randle has struggled this postseason but he had a bounce-back Game 5. He scored 24 points on 53.8% shooting with 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Heat need a Herculean effort out of Butler to win. Miami lost Butler’s two lowest-scoring games of these playoffs. New York has three strong on-ball defensive wings to throw at Butler in Barrett, Grimes, and Josh Hart.
The NBA called in the ‘fixer’
The NBA’s ratings have been declining for years and the best thing the Association can ask for is a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.
BET: Knicks +6 (-110), down to +5 at DraftKings
- Betting strategy: Put three-fourths of a unit-ish on New York’s spread and a quarter-unit on the Knicks to win outright. For example, 1 unit = $100.
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.
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One CommentLeave a Reply
intriguing…point line paid…by a bucket.
That’s a win, but it sounds suspiciously more like gambling than ‘the fix is in.’