Jimmy Butler leads dominant defensive effort as Heat take 2-1 lead against Knicks

Jimmy Butler is back and the Miami Heat looked at each other again on Saturday.

The Heat beat the New York Knicks 105-86 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series, taking a 2-1 lead after losing Game 2 when Butler was out with a sprained ankle. . Game 4 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET Monday (TNT) in Miami.

It was a wire-to-wire victory for the Heat, who led by no less than 22 points in the fourth quarter. Miami held New York 31 of 91 (34.1%) and 8 of 40 (20%) from deep.

Jimmy Butler looked good in Game 3. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Butler was cleared to play in Game 3 an hour before kick-off and quickly showed he was healthy, scoring the game’s first points. He scored 10 of his 28 points in the first quarter and finished with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in 35 minutes. Max Strus added 9 of his 18 points in the first quarter, giving the Knicks an 8-point lead going into the second quarter.

The Knicks let their frustration show early in the second quarter. Midway through a 12-2 run by the Heat, RJ Barrett was given a technical foul after throwing the ball in anger after the Knicks were called for a shooting foul.

That, combined with the Knicks’ 0-of-7 start from beyond the arc, helped the Heat open a 19-point lead with about eight minutes left in the second quarter. The Knicks responded by going their own 7-2 run. Josh Hart drained the team’s first 3-pointer of the night and Immanuel Quickley added another, forcing the Heat to take a timeout midway through the quarter.

The timeout seemed to stifle the Knicks rally. The Heat took a 14-point halftime lead.

Things got choppy again in the third quarter, during which the Heat continued to extend their lead. In the closing seconds, Heat center Cody Zeller shoved Knicks star Julius Randle through the back on a run for a rebound. Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein responded by pushing Zeller, and soon a scramble game was underway.

Zeller, Hartenstein and Caleb Martin were all hit with technical fouls for the incident. Butler was unbothered.

The Knicks have never been within 12 points of the Heat in the fourth quarter, and now they’ll have to bounce back in a major way on Monday or face a 3-1 series hole against a veteran team playing some really good basketball right now. moment.

To make matters worse for New York, Sixth Man of the Year finalist Immanuel Quickley left the game late with an apparent injury. after colliding with the Heat big man Bam Adebayo. Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after the game Quickley had sprained his ankle and the team will know more about his availability for Game 4 on Sunday.

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