The New York Knicks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It was their first time winning a playoff series in ten years. Tom Thibodeau’s team held the Cavs to under 100 points in each of their four victories. That’s remarkable in this fast paced, high scoring era.
The Knicks will now turn their attention to the Heat after they learned that Miami had pulled off the surprising upset of the Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks will have home court advantage in their upcoming series and are favored to take down the Heat and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Knicks Will Look to Keep Butler at Bay
Most people thought if the Knicks were able to get past the Cavs it would just mean their inevitable second round bouncing from the Bucks. That will not be the case after the Jimmy Butler led Heat took down the Bucks in five games.
Milwaukee had no answers for Butler in this series. He averaged 37.6 a game, including 56 in the Heat’s come from behind Game 4 victory. Butler has been known for stepping his game up in the playoffs and that is in full display so far in 2023.
The Knicks did a good job at containing the Cavs shooters in the first round, especially Donavan Mitchell, but Butler will be a different task. The 6X all star has the ability to score from anywhere on the court. When he gets hot it’s electrifying, especially in the playoffs.
The good news for the Knicks is that after Butler, the Heat don’t have much. Bam Adebayo can put up points but isn’t going to dominate a game. Max Strus can be dangerous from deep but didn’t shoot in volume numbers in the first round. Containing Butler and letting anyone else beat you, should be the Knicks objective in this series.
Miami Heat vs New York Knicks Series Betting, Courtesy of DraftKings
The Knicks are favored to knock off the Miami Heat and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Knicks haven’t reached the East Finals since 2000, when they went on to lose to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals.
Oddsmakers are giving the edge to New York largely because of their lineup depth. Jalen Brunson has impressed in this postseason and RJ Barrett has stepped up when called upon. The Knicks have also received huge contributions off the bench from the likes of Immanuel Quickley and Josh Hart.
One thing to keep an eye on is the health of Julius Randle. Randle aggravated an ankle injury in Game 5 and later returned to the court in street clothes. Randle had a rough first round series but New York will want him back, especially if they need additional scoring production. The Knicks are hopeful their All Star power forward will be ready for Game 1.
Miami Heat vs New York Knicks Game 1 Betting, Courtesy of FanDuel
The Knicks are favored to beat the Heat in Game 1. The game will take place on Sunday, April 30th, at 1 PM EST from Madison Square Garden. Ticket prices are souring for the Knicks first second round home playoff games since 2013. The MSG crowd will be rocking as the Knicks look to defend home court before going on the road for Games 3 and 4.
The over/under for Game 1 is 207.5. It’s worth noting that all five of the first round games the Knicks played fell under that number. However, all five of the first round games the Heat played finished over that number, making this over/under tough to call. Miami will be looking to push the tempo, while the Knicks will be trying to slow things down and play a half court game.
If the Knicks can contain Jimmy Butler and continue to get contributions all the way down the depth chart they should find themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals.