NBA: RJ Barrett, Knicks withstand Heat’s late comeback

RJ Barrett Knicks NBA

RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks watches during the second half at Madison Square Garden on January 16, 2023 in New York City. The Toronto Raptors beat the New York Knicks 123-121 in extra time. Elsa/Getty/AFP Images

RJ Barrett collected 30 points and eight rebounds and Julius Randle added 23 and 10, respectively, to help the New York Knicks host a 106-104 win over the Miami Heat on Thursday.

Barrett took 13 of the 23 shots from the floor to score an own goal after he was benched in the second half of the fourth and all of the injury time in the second half. New York’s 129-123 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

Randle, who scored 19 points in the first half on Thursday, was selected as a substitute for the All-Star Game ahead of the competition.

Quentin Grimes finished with 17 points for the Knicks, who played without Jalen Brunson (not COVID). It took Brunson two days to score 37 points against the Lakers.

Miami’s Bam Adebayo, who was also selected as a reserve for the NBA’s All-Star Game, finished with 32 points and 9 rebounds. Tyler Herro pulled four 3-pointers to highlight his 25-point performance and Max Strus hit five shots from outside the arc to give the Heat 17 points.

Miami closed the five-point gap to one before Isaiah Hartenstein’s pitch gave New York a 104-101 lead with 33.5 seconds remaining in the fourth half. Randle’s basket with 5.2 seconds to play offers insurance.

Strus drew 3 points with 2.9 seconds left, and the coach’s challenge gave the Heat another chance. Herro’s attempt to score 3 points on the whistle was unsuccessful to end the game.

Jimmy Butler’s bucket made it through the lap 21-4 to give Miami a 69-66 lead at the end of the third inning before New York ended the inning 11-3. Miles McBride and Grimes marked the latter increase by sinking the 3-point pointer.

The Heat scored 20 of the first 29 points of the second half to take a 42-37 lead before the Knicks responded with a flourish. Randle scored seven of his team’s final 14 points to end the first half and give New York a 51-48 advantage at the break.

Barrett scored nine points in New York’s 11-0 win to start the third inning before the Heat counterattacked with their 21-4 score. Herro destroyed a trio of 3-pointers and Caleb Martin and Kyle Lowry each connected from outside the arc in that sequence to give Miami a 69-66 lead.

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