The Knicks weren’t able to steal a game in Miami and are now down 3-1 in the series. Where do they go from here?
“Maybe they want it more. I don’t know”.
This is what Julius Randle said to the media following the 109-101 loss in Game 4. This is something that you do not want to hear out of your star player but looking at how the Knicks have played these past two games, Randle might have a point.
Everything that could have gone wrong for the Knicks during this road trip did go wrong. Game 3 was a complete onslaught by the Heat and Game 4 was a loss opportunity by the Knicks to capitalize on key possessions. From the sloppy turnovers to the shooting struggles from the perimeter, the Knicks just couldn’t find a consistent rhythm on either side of the floor.
The most concerning thing about these losses is the lack of urgency on boards. Going into this series, it seemed like the Knicks would have the rebounding advantage especially considering how well they rebounded in the 1st round series against the Cavs. These last two games have proved that theory wrong.
The Heat had 13 offensive rebounds in both games and continued to out hustle the Knicks for second chance opportunities. This issue killed the Knicks chances of tying up this series especially down the stretch of Game 4, as it caused them to possessions that could have led to points. What makes it more alarming is that the Heat’s guards were the one’s coming up with these rebounds.
Inexcusable if you ask me.
Randle’s Struggles Continue
On the other hand, Julius Randle has continued his playoff struggles. In these past two games, he has scored a combined 30 points while shooting 12/28 from the field. It’s not completely his fault why the Knicks are in this hole but he has been part of the problem. His decision making has been poor and fouling out late in Game 4 was the biggest example of that. Randle has a history of not performing well in the playoffs and it has been more of the same this year. If the Knicks want to have any shot of pulling off a 3-1 comeback, Randle has to step up his game and play smarter. Enough of the poor decision making.
It may be difficult to look past how out of sorts the Knicks have looked recently but they have to figure out a way to move and try to mount a comeback. Immanuel Quickley’s availability will be key heading into Game 5 on Wednesday, as he was unable to play in Game 4 after suffering a high ankle sprain in Game 3. The Knicks need an offensive spark and Quickley is capable of providing that despite his struggles as of late.
The Knicks also need to start knocking down their perimeter shots and be more active on defense. Even though this has been absent for the majority of this series, it’s the only way they can try to comeback in this series.
With Game 5 being at MSG, the Knicks need to feed off the crowd and play like they want it more. The season is on the line from here on out. It’s time for this team to wake up and realize what’s at stake.