NEW YORK (AP) — Jalen Brunson had 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists while playing all 48 minutes in a season-extending performance, and the New York Knicks beat the Miami Heat 112-103 on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Knicks denied the Heat’s first attempt to become just the second No. 8 seed to reach the conference finals and sent the series back to Miami for Game 6 on Friday night.
RJ Barrett added 26 points and Julius Randle had 24 for the fifth-seeded Knicks, who stayed alive in hopes of reaching the conference finals for the first time since 2000. They did that by getting by the Heat in seven games in the second round, a possibility that still exists.
The Knicks built a 19-point lead in the third quarter, then hung on when the Heat finally got their 3-pointers to start falling and cut it to two with 2 1/2 minutes remaining.
Jimmy Butler had 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Heat, getting held below 25 points for the first time in this postseason. Bam Adebayo added 18 points and Duncan Robinson had 17.
The 1999 Knicks, for now, remain the only No. 8 to get to a conference finals in the current playoff format that began in 1984. They got all the way to the NBA Finals after upsetting the top-seeded Heat in the first round.
The Heat used a pair of huge quarter-opening runs — 18-2 to begin the second and 23-7 in the third — to build a 73-54 lead midway through the third quarter. The Heat got it all the way down to 103-101 before Isaiah Hartenstein — in the game because the Heat were intentionally fouling starting center Mitchell Robinson — slammed home a follow dunk to start New York’s finishing kick.
Quentin Grimes also went all 48 minutes for the Knicks, finishing with eight points.
The Heat dominated Game 3 and outworked the Knicks in the fourth quarter to hold on and take Game 4, positioning themselves to wrap up a series in five games for the second time in this postseason. They began it by knocking off Milwaukee, which had the best record in the league.
But they missed 21 of their first 25 3-pointers and were still down 13 with 9 1/2 minutes before Robinson and Lowry each made a pair in a 12-3 burst that trimmed it to 95-91 with more than half the final period remaining.
Butler had one of his typical do-everything stretches with a basket, a blocked shot and a free throw to cut it to 103-10, but the Heat couldn’t come all the way back like they did in the deciding game against the Bucks, when they were down by 16 points.
They led 24-14 after one, but Butler began the second quarter on the bench and the Knicks capitalized. They pushed the pace to get rare easy shots and Barrett made two 3-pointers in an 18-2 spurt that gave them a 32-26 lead.
Randle’s 3-pointer made it 50-47 at the half. Kevin Love got the first basket of the third, but Barrett and Brunson answered with consecutive 3-pointers to ignite the Knicks’ next spurt. The lead was eight before an 11-0 surge, featuring back-to-back 3-pointers by Brunson and Randle, pushed it to 73-54 midway through the period.
Robinson finished 4 of 8 at the line, ending with eight points and 11 rebounds.
Heat: Max Strus scored 14 points. … Butler was voted Wednesday to the All-NBA second team. It was his highest career finish after being voted to the third team four times.
Knicks: The Knicks were without sixth-man Immanuel Quickley for a second straight game because of a sprained right ankle and also without guard Evan Fournier, who has not been part of the rotation, because of illness. … Randle was voted to the All-NBA third team, adding that to his second-team selection in 2021.
Brian Mahoney, The Associated Press