Thursday, March 30, 2023
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NBA Preview: New York Knicks (37-27) at Miami Heat (33-30)

Since acquiring tough reserve Josh Hart, the New York Knicks, who are 7-0, are scheduled to play the Miami Heat on Friday night.

As they continue to climb the Eastern Conference standings, the Knicks will strive for their eighth consecutive victory.

On Wednesday night, when the Knicks beat the Brooklyn Nets 142-118, it definitely did. Jalen Brunson, a point guard for the Knicks, scored a game-high 39 points, 30 of which came in the first half.

On Wednesday, Brunson shot 15 of 18 shots, including 5 of 6 attempts at a 3-pointer. He also had five rebounds and six assists.

Hart, who was acquired from Portland prior to the NBA trade deadline, scored four points, pulled down four rebounds, gave five assists, and made two steals as a reserve against New York. In his seven appearances for New York, he has averaged 12.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

Hart, Brunson’s former Villanova teammate, has contributed to the Knicks’ potent duo of power forward Julius Randle and Brunson.

The 28-year-old Randle is currently averaging team highs of 25.0 points and 10.5 rebounds, both of which are on track to become career highs. For the second time in three seasons, Randle was named to the NBA All-Star team this season.

The 26-year-old is averaging 23.8 points and 6.2 assists per game, both of which are on track to become career highs. From the free-throw line, Brunson is shooting 41.0 percent and 83.6 percent.

The shooting guards RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes, as well as Mitchell Robinson, a double-double threat, are just two of the Knicks’ other standouts in their lineup.

On February 2, the Knicks defeated the Heat 106-104 at home. In the teams’ one and only meeting thus far this season, Miami’s Tyler Herro missed a corner 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Overall, Miami has lost five of its last six games, including a disappointing home defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers by a score of 119-96. Despite playing without All-Star center Joel Embiid, Philadelphia prevailed.

Jimmy Butler, Miami’s leading scorer, left the game in the fourth quarter because of a sore right knee. Due to a knee injury, Heat starting point guard Kyle Lowry has missed ten games in a row.

The Heat’s 19-11 record at home, including an 8-2 record in their ten most recent outings in Miami, is good news for Miami.

However, New York is tied with the Milwaukee Bucks for the second-best NBA road record, going 18-12.

When all of this is added up, the Heat are under more and more pressure. As of Friday, they are seventh in the Eastern Conference, 3 1/2 games behind the fifth-place Knicks.

Miami has acquired backup Cody Zeller and five-time All-Star Kevin Love from the buyout market in the last two weeks.

Love’s passing, including his outlet heaves to teammates streaking up the court, has impressed Spoelstra particularly.

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