Our Heat season companion part 20 finds the Heat up 3-2 in the second round against the Knicks. The Heat have an opportunity to close out the series at home in Game 6 today. Let’s discuss Game 5 and how the Heat can close out the Knicks in Game 6.
Heat Season Companion Part 20: Jalen Brunson Scored 38 Points in Game 5
Jalen Brunson has been the Knicks’ best player in this series against the Heat. Brunson scored an efficient 38 points against the Heat in game 5. That was a major factor in the Knicks’ victory in Game 5. Additionally, Brunson had seven assists and nine rebounds along with his 38 points. The Heat will have to slow Brunson down in order to win Game 6 and close out the series.
RJ Barrett and Julius Randle Combined for 50 Points in Game 5
The Heat will also have to slow down Randle and Barrett more effectively in Game 6. RJ Barrett scored 26 points on 8-17 shooting in game 5 and Julius Randle scored 24 points on 7-13 shooting in game 5. Bam Adebayo will have to make sure Randle doesn’t repeat this feat in Game 6, which Adebayo is more than capable of doing given his excellent defense. The Heat will also have to limit the amount of mismatches the Knicks can generate for Randle.
On a similar note, the Heat and specifically Jimmy Butler and Caleb Martin will have to slow down RJ Barrett. Barrett, like Randle, can be inconsistent. The Miami Heat need to ensure that he has a difficult game in Game 6 so they can close out the series. It is quite difficult to beat the Knicks when all three of Randle, Barrett, and Brunson play well. I trust Erik Spoelstra to make the necessary adjustments to slow down these three players in Game 6.
Heat Season Companion Part 20: The Heat Have to Shoot The 3 Better and Win The Rebounding Battle
Offensively, the Heat’s biggest issue in Game 5 was their 30.2% shooting from three-point range. The Heat have shot well from three-point range in the playoffs overall, so this is likely an anomaly. Regardless, the Heat will have to make more 3s in order to beat the Knicks in Game 6 and close out the series. Kevin Love will especially have to shoot better from three-point range, considering that he was 0/7 from three-point range in game 5.
Also, the Heat have to win the rebounding battle in Game 6. The Knicks won the rebounding battle in game 5 50-34. Bam Adebayo had eight rebounds, Jimmy Butler had seven rebounds, and Kevin Love had five rebounds in game 5. The Heat’s bench unit only grabbed seven rebounds combined, though. The Heat will have to keep Mitchell Robinson and Jalen Brunson off the glass as much as possible in Game 6. Bam Adebayo needs to step up and win the rebounding battle against Mitchell Robinson to set the tone for the Heat’s rebounding in Game 6.
The Heat Return Home for Game 6
The Heat have an opportunity to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals in Game 6. It is worth noting that the Heat have not lost a home playoff game in this post-season. Hopefully, that trend continues so the Heat can get a little bit of rest before the Conference Finals begin. The Celtics and 76ers will play a Game 7 in Boston to determine the other East team in the Conference Finals.
I would bet on the Heat winning Game 6 at home and moving on to the Conference Finals. I think Spoelstra will make the right adjustments and the Heat’s role-players will play better at home.
Check back next week for more Miami Heat content.