The New York Knicks tied the series in Game 2, 111-105, and have now picked up some momentum. They’ll need it in South Beach, especially if the Miami Heat will have Jimmy Butler back.

Catch the game May 7 at 3:30 AM, Manila time.

HOME: Miami Heat (1-1)

Projected starting five:

  • Gabe Vincent
  • Max Strus
  • Jimmy Butler (questionable) / Duncan Robinson
  • Bam Adebayo
  • Kevin Love

The Heat have been hit by the injury bug at the worst possible time. They did quite well in the first round without Tyler Herro (hand) and Victor Oladipo (knee), but it was finally too much in Game 2 this past Wednesday when Jimmy Butler (ankle) was also sidelined. They looked good despite the loss, though, and was a couple of plays away from making it two-zip.

Still, with or without Butler, Bam Adebayo will simply have to be more assertive. While he’s doing the other work as per usual, like grabbing 8.0 rebounds alongside 4.0 assists per game, he could only post an underwhelming 15.5 points in the series. Veteran guard Kyle Lowry, meanwhile, is tallying a complete line of 12.0/4.5/6.0/1.0/2.5, but is only shooting 38.1% from the field. That wouldn’t cut it in the playoff stage. Also, if Butler was able to return, he’d be nursing that ankle so it would be tough to require yet another huge scoring night.

Gabe Vincent is producing as he has 20.5 PPG in the two games, including 4.5 threes, so look for him to stay confident in his shot. Same with Max Strus, who has 12.5 points on 55.6% shooting (41.7% from three).

What it could come down to, however, is their improvement in rebounding. They were outrebounded by the Knicks in Game 2, 50-34, which was among the reasons why they were unable to pull away despite the momentum.


AWAY: New York Knicks (1-1)

Projected starting five:

  • Jalen Brunson
  • RJ Barrett
  • Josh Hart
  • Julius Randle
  • Mitchell Robinson

Following a frustrating Game 1, the Knicks came with more fight in Game 2. They were unable to get the right rhythm for three-and-a-half quarters but fortunately got it at the right time: late in the fourth period. Rebounding and hitting timely shots are always huge.

The Knicks’ scoring trio are doing their thing in the series. Jalen Brunson (27.5 PPG), Julius Randle (25.0), and RJ Barrett (25.0) are all firing off 25+ points each alongside their other usual counting stats. Randle, as always, is the most productive as he is adding 12.0 dimes, and 8.0 dimes per contest. Look for either one of them to lead the way in Game 3.

What’s also great for the Knicks is the contributions of their utility guys, especially Josh Hart. The 27-year-old has been a fine addition to the squad and he proved it once again on Wednesday, notching 14 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists, including two key three-pointers in the final minutes. Adding to all that hustle is their resident giants in the paint: Mitchell Robinson and Isiah Hartenstein. The two could very well continue to be a problem for the Heat.


Handicap: The Heat (-3.5) win.

Over/Under: The total hits the over (208.5)