The NBA playoffs continue Tuesday with an Eastern Conference showdown between the Miami Heat (1-0) and the New York Knicks (0-1). The Knicks will host this one at Madison Square Garden, with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 pm ET.
The Knicks are the favorite in this one playing at home. They are -270 to win, while the Heat’s moneyline sits at +220. The spread features Miami as 6.5-point underdogs (-110), and the over/under for total points is 206.5 (-110).
Heat Used To Being Underdogs
After taking down the top-seeded Milwaukee Brewers in the first round of the playoffs, the Heat kept their momentum going with a Game 1 win over New York. In Sunday’s win, the Heat were able to prevail 108-101.
In the win, forward Jimmy Butler had a game-high 25 points. He also added 11 rebounds and four assists on the night. It is worth noting that Butler is currently listed as questionable (ankle) for Tuesday’s game.
Other contributors on the night included Gabe Vincent (20 points, five assists), Kyle Lowry (18 points, six assists, five rebounds), and Bam Adebayo (16 points, eight rebounds).
The key to the win was the Heat’s dominant defense. This season, Miami ranks third in scoring defense, allowing 110.1 points per game. This trend continued as they held New York to just 101 points.
Knicks Need To Find A Way To Pick Up Game 2 Win
Given that Miami was 27-14 at home this season, the Knicks would really prefer not to head to Miami in a 2-0 deficit. Luckily, New York isn’t too bad at Madison Square Garden at 23-18, and they will look to take advantage of playing on their home court to pick up the Game 2 win.
New York really missed Julius Randle in their opening loss. With Randle out, RJ Barrett led the way with 26 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.
Jalen Brunson (25 points, seven assists, five rebounds), Obi Toppin (18 points, eight rebounds), and Josh Hart (10 points, eight rebounds) also had nice nights.
Randle is currently listed as questionable (ankle) Tuesday. Brunson is also listed as questionable (ankle) for this one.
Like Miami, New York has a solid defense as they rank eighth overall, allowing 112 points per game to opponents (98.7 over their last three games). On offense, they rank 13th, averaging 114.9 points (103 in their last three).
Take Miami And The Points
Looking at the trends, the Heat are 6-1 both straight up and against the spread in their last seven games. They are 11-5 in their last 16 games against the Knicks.
As for New York, they are 12-4 in their last 16 home games and 9-4 in their last 13 games overall. In their last six games, they are also 4-2 against the spread.
This one could come down to the injury report. Especially after losing Tyler Herro earlier in the postseason, losing Jimmy Butler would be a critical blow for Miami.
Likewise, if Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson are unable to go, the Knicks would be equally as limited for this one.
Regardless of who can and cannot play, the Heat proved on Sunday that their elite defense came to play, even on the road. While New York might be able to pull out the Game 2 win, expect Miami to keep this one close.
Take Miami and the +6.5 points (-110) in Game 2.