Barrett scores 30, helps Knicks hold off Heat
NEW YORK — RJ Barrett never gave his coach a chance to sit him for long Thursday night.
Barrett rebounded from a late-game benching with 30 points, Isaiah Hartenstein made big plays on both ends of the floor in the final minute and the New York Knicks beat the Miami Heat 106-104.
Barrett played about five minutes to start the fourth quarter Tuesday, then never got back in the rest of regulation or overtime in the Knicks' 129-123 loss to the Lakers. He was on the floor for 41 minutes this time, including the whole fourth quarter, when he delivered some timely drives to the basket.
"The thing that I love about RJ is I always believe he's going to bounce back and I saw it immediately the next day after the Laker game," Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I said we'll be fine because I know, like, it's important to RJ, so I knew he'd come out aggressive."
New York pulled out the victory after Erik Spoelstra correctly challenged a call that turned a Heat foul into a Knicks turnover. But Tyler Herro's potential winning 3-point attempt bounced off the rim.
Julius Randle added 23 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Knicks, who pulled within a game of Miami for sixth place in the Eastern Conference, the final guaranteed playoff spot. Quentin Grimes scored 17 points.
Hartenstein dunked with 33 seconds left for a three-point lead. After Herro's 3-point attempt rimmed out, the Heat got a steal and got another chance to tie, but Hartenstein knocked away a pass and the Knicks got it to Randle all alone for a dunk and a 106-101 lead.
Max Strus made a 3-pointer to cut it two, setting the Heat up for another chance before Herro's miss from the corner.
"I thought we had a good look," Herro said. "It was still a tough shot, but it was a good shot. Missed it, and get back to the drawing board."
Bam Adebayo finished with 32 points and nine rebounds for the Heat, while Herro scored 25 points and Strus had 17.
The Knicks snapped a two-game losing streak despite playing without point guard Jalen Brunson, who was scratched with an illness unrelated to COVID-19. But they had a much better Barrett than Tuesday, when he was 5 for 13 for 13 points.
"I feel like I hadn't really had aggression from start to finish in a while, so today I just tried to do that," Barrett said.
The Knicks started the third quarter with an 11-0 run, extending a three-point lead to 62-48 as the Heat missed their first seven shots. Then Adebayo made a jumper to start a 21-4 response, which included Kyle Lowry making a go-ahead 3-pointer after missing his first seven shots, as Miami rallied for a 69-66 edge.
New York swung momentum right back its way with another 11-0 burst and led 77-72 after three.
"We just couldn't put them away. Any time we got a little bit of a lead, we couldn't put them away. They came right back," Heat veteran Udonis Haslem said. "That's a tribute to their resilience, but also, we've got to understand that we've got to play off misses. We can't keep taking the ball out of the basket and come down and try to match people shot for shot."
Heat: G Victor Oladipo missed the game with a sprained right ankle. Spoelstra said the injury was unrelated to the serious leg injuries that cost him significant time the last few seasons and said the guard was day to day. ... Haslem, whose had played only five games with a season high of 11 minutes in his 20th NBA season, played 10 minutes.
Knicks: Immanuel Quickley started for Brunson and had eight points and six rebounds.
Both teams believed they should have two All-Stars, but had to settle for one. Randle was picked for the second time, but the Knicks hoped Brunson would also get the nod in his first season in the Eastern Conference. Adebayo also is now a two-time All-Star, but Jimmy Butler was not selected. He had just 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
Heat: At Milwaukee on Saturday.
Knicks: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
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