Jalen Brunson scores 38 points, Knicks beat Heat 112-103 in Game 5 to cut deficit to a game
NEW YORK — 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. (AP)