Sports News Live Updates Jimmy Butler scored 27 points as the Heat pulled into a 3-1 lead against the Knicks. | Photo Credit: Lynne Sladky The unpredictable ride of the eighth-seeded Heat continues, with Miami on the brink of yet another trip to the Eastern Conference finals. Jimmy Butler had 27 points and 10 assists, Bam Adebayo finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds and the Heat topped the New York Knicks 109-101 on Monday night.
“It was great that we were able to hold home court,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But we know we have a task in New York.”
They’ll take a 3-1 lead into Madison Square Garden for Game 5 on Wednesday night, one win from wrapping up this East semifinal matchup and returning to the conference finals for the third time in four years.
“We’ve got a job to do,” Butler said, “and I think we’re very capable.”
Max Strus scored 16 points, Kyle Lowry added 15 and Caleb Martin had 10 for the Heat. Miami became only the fourth No. 8 seed in this NBA playoff format — now in its 40th season — to win at least seven games. The 1999 Knicks won 12 on their way to the NBA Finals, while Memphis won seven in 2011 and Philadelphia won seven in 2012.
Jalen Brunson finished with 32 points and 11 assists for fifth-seeded New York, while RJ Barrett had 24 points and Julius Randle scored 20 for the Knicks before fouling out with about three minutes left.
The Knicks cut what was an 11-point deficit down to 67-65 on a 3-pointer by Barrett with 7:07 left in the third, but never got all the way over the hump. An 8-1 spurt over a two-minute stretch late in the third restored the 11-point lead, Miami’s cushion was 90-81 going into the fourth, and the Heat held on.