Miami Heat Defeat New York Knicks in Game 1 of Eastern Conference Semifinals, Butler’s Health in Question for Game 2
The Miami Heat and the New York Knicks have a storied playoff history, with their last meeting in the playoffs resulting in an easy 4-1 Heat series win in 2012. However, during the late 90s and early 2000s, the two teams played four times, with the Knicks winning three series. These were physical matchups in which scoring 100 points was a challenge for either team. The rivalry has produced many memorable moments, with the Heat winning two of its first five playoff series against the Knicks.
In their recent matchup in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Heat picked up a huge 108-101 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Heat star Jimmy Butler sprained his ankle in the final minutes of the game, but despite being visibly in pain, he remained in the game and finished it out. Butler led the way for Miami with 25 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and two steals. However, his health will be a concern for the Heat as the series moves forward.
The Knicks were missing two-time All-Star forward Julius Randle, who is dealing with an ankle injury. On March 29, Randle suffered an ankle injury during the game against the Heat, causing him to miss the last five games of the regular season. After starting all five first-round games, Randle aggravated the injury with 1:17 left in the first half of Game 5 and did not play after intermission.
Game 1 showed that the Knicks need Randle to be healthy to compete against the Heat. RJ Barrett led the Knicks with 26 points and nine rebounds, and Jalen Brunson finished with 25 points. However, the rest of the team struggled from beyond the arc, shooting just 20.6% on 3-pointers.
The Heat and Knicks will face off again in Game 2 of the series on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. Sorry, there is no text to rewrite. “ET” is not a sentence or phrase that can be rephrased. It remains to be seen whether Butler and Randle will be available for the game. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said that Butler's ankle sprain is a “waiting game” and that the team will have to evaluate the situation on a case-by-case basis.
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