It took a 48-minute Jalen Brunson masterclass, 48 minutes of grit and tenacity from Quentin Grimes, and the duo of RJ Barrett/Julius Randle combining for 50 points, but the New York Knicks were able to fight off elimination and live to see another day. Can they do it again? But this time, in Miami?
Setting up the Knicks vs Heat Game 6
The Knicks are going to have their hands full as Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat will do everything in their power to prevent this series from heading back to Madison Square Garden. Between Immanuel Quickley being doubtful for Game 6 and Josh Hart struggling throughout this series, Jalen Brunson and Quentin Grimes could very well be expected to play 40+ minutes yet again.
Hopefully, Josh Hart can stay out of foul trouble in Game 6 so that head coach Tom Thibodeau could play him for more than nine minutes to give the two starting guards some much-needed rest. The Heat have also been daring Hart to shoot from beyond the arc and leaving him open willingly.
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Remarkable night for Jalen Bruson
Jalen Brunson was the best player on the floor in Game 5 as he needed to be. He scored 38 points to go along with nine rebounds, and seven assists. He got his teammates involved while remaining aggressive the entire game, literally. The most impressive part about it is how incredibly efficient he was in the process. Brunson shot 12-for-22 from the field and 10-for-12 from the free throw line while only turning the ball over just once. It was a special performance that will need to be repeated if the Knicks are to win Game 6 on the road.
The Quentin Grimes effect
Quentin Grimes provided a nice three-point shooting spark while giving it everything he had on the defensive end, arguably making the most spectacular play of the night:
QUENTIN GRIMES CLUTCH STEAL 🔒
Knicks lead with a minute to play in Game 5
📺: TNT | MIA leads 3-1 pic.twitter.com/cwHzWq5UB0
— NBA (@NBA) May 11, 2023
The effort and energy Grimes played with were contagious and played a large role in the victory. Mitchell Robinson certainly provided a spark as well, corralling 11 rebounds (five offensive) while also debunking the Heat’s decision to “hack-a-Mitch” late in the game.
Shortly after earning All-NBA Third team honors, Julius Randle seemed rejuvenated. Scoring 24 points to go with five rebounds and five assists, Randle also shot over 50% from the field while making four threes. Randle looked decisive all night and did a great job of attacking the rim to create open looks for his teammates on the perimeter. If Randle can continue to be assertive in his pursuit to the paint, it should bode well for him and the Knicks.
Only 22 years old, the moment has not been too big for RJ Barrett. He continues to play with extreme confidence and it has been a key factor in why the Knicks have gotten to this point.
In Game 5, Barrett scored 26 points to go along with seven rebounds and a block. He shot 8-for-17 from the field (3-for-8 from three) while shooting 7-for-8 from the free throw line. RJ Barrett also had the team’s highest +/- rating (+17), meaning great things happened when he was on the court.
The New York Knicks have been counted out all year, yet they have continued to defy all odds. They are at their best when their backs are against the wall and Game 6 should be no different.
While Butler and the Heat will certainly be prepared to match the Knicks’ energy and make the necessary adjustments, Game 5 helped swing the pendulum back toward New York. Take the Knicks to cover the 5.5-point spread tomorrow, and don’t be afraid to put some money on them to win outright too.