Soccer gamers have mentioned it earlier than. Hockey gamers, too. Basketball gamers even have mentioned it, most lately Julius Randle after the Knicks’ second consecutive disturbing loss in Miami to place their season on the cusp of ending as quickly as Wednesday night time.

“Possibly they need it extra.”

It actually is among the extra inexplicable admissions we’ve heard over time in sports activities, and precisely zero followers of this often hard-working and likable staff needs to be completely happy — or inspired about the remainder of the collection — after Randle made that startling admission when requested after Monday’s defeat by The Publish in regards to the Warmth basically beating the Knicks at their very own recreation, with a determined edge on the offensive boards whereas beating them to at least one unfastened ball after one other of their victories in Sport 3 and Sport 4.

Randle might have been speaking firstly about himself in that regard.

He dedicated a team-worst six turnovers, and notably just a few lazy passes, in Sport 4. He additionally has been disengaged on too many defensive possessions on this collection, ill-befitting the staff’s main scorer and lone All-Star.

Clearly, Randle fought by means of a late-season ankle damage and a tweak of that situation after aggravating it in Sport 5 in opposition to the Cavaliers, sidelining him for the second-round opener. However Sport 4 additionally was the primary of his 13 profession playoff video games by which he shot higher than 50 p.c from the ground (8-for-13, 20 factors). Solely two of these field-goal makes an attempt got here within the second half.

We’ve heard Miami coach Erik Spoelstra and his gamers always discuss in regards to the vaunted “Warmth tradition.” Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart have been among the many Knicks to credit score the Warmth’s system after every of those losses.

The Knicks have had few solutions in attempting to determine the right way to cease Jimmy Butler from directing the Warmth to a 3-1 collection lead.

It’s laborious to think about Jimmy Butler saying an opponent “wished it extra,” particularly after watching the six-time All-Star impose his will all through this collection regardless of sitting out Sport 2 — the Knicks’ lone win — with an ankle damage of his personal.

Mitchell Robinson additionally hasn’t made something near the influence he made in dominating in opposition to Cavaliers large males Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley within the opening spherical.

Robinson hauled in 11 offensive rebounds in Sport 5 of that collection; he has totaled 11 previously three video games mixed.

Versatile guard Josh Hart rightly was switched again to the struggling second unit Monday night time with Quentin Grimes beginning for the primary time since struggling a shoulder contusion in Sport 3 in opposition to the Cavs. However Hart recorded simply two rebounds in 22 minutes, his lowest output on the boards in 34 video games (common season and playoffs) since arriving in a deadline commerce from Portland.

Led by All-Star heart Bam Adebayo, the Warmth held a 44-35 rebounding edge, together with 13-8 on the offensive glass. One recreation earlier, Miami outrebounded the Knicks, 37-34, and basically matched them on the offensive glass, with the Knicks holding a slim 14-13 margin.

“I imply, typically unfastened balls, you all the time say they’re 50/50 balls. They’re not all the time 50/50 balls.” Hart mentioned after Monday’s recreation. “Typically they’ve a bounce of their path, typically they’ve a bounce in our path.

Josh Hart #3 of the New York Knicks reacts to a call during the first half of game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at the Kaseya Center, Monday, May 8, 2023, in Miami, NY.
The hustle performs that largely went the Knicks’ approach in Spherical 1 have extra commonly gone in opposition to them in opposition to the Warmth.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Publish

“I feel we most likely might have rebounded the ball higher, particularly that third-fourth quarter. We’re attempting to make a run, we’re getting stops. However typically it’s simply how the ball bounces.”

The Knicks might want to get extra of these bounces starting Wednesday night time of their residence area, as Randle additionally put it, to “preserve the season alive.”

In addition they can’t enable the Warmth to be the staff that “needs it extra,” as if that ought to even should be acknowledged.

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By the numbers

One of many uncommon situations of an NBA staff overcoming a 3-1 collection deficit truly concerned these two groups greater than a quarter-century in the past, when the Knicks flushed a 3-1 result in the Warmth within the second spherical in 1997.

That was the moment berth of a late-’90s rivalry that noticed the groups meet in postseason play in 4 consecutive years.

Total, groups have taken a 3-1 lead in an NBA playoff collection 276 occasions, together with six within the first spherical this yr. Solely 13 of these 276 have seen the trailing staff come again to win the collection. The Warriors additionally face a 3-1 gap within the second spherical.

Most lately, the Nuggets pulled off the come-from-behind feat in every of the primary two rounds of the 2020 playoffs in opposition to the Jazz and the Clippers.

Gabe Vincent #2 of the Miami Heat and RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks go for a loose ball during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Kaseya Center on May 08, 2023 in Miami, Florida. The Heat won the game 109-101.
For the Knicks to grow to be solely the 14th staff in NBA historical past to beat a 3-1 playoff deficit, RJ Barrett mentioned the membership has to maintain its deal with successful Sport 5 first.
Getty Pictures

The Knicks have trailed 3-1 in a best-of-7 playoff collection 14 occasions of their historical past. They’re 0-14 in these conditions.

The Warmth have led 3-1 in a best-of-7 playoff collection 14 occasions of their historical past. They’re 14-0.

Can that double dose of ominous historical past be reversed?

“Get a win at residence, that’s it,” RJ Barrett mentioned of Wednesday’s Sport 5 on the Backyard. “Headed residence, simply gotta get again to being a troublesome, bodily staff that will get to the offensive glass and takes care of the defensive boards. We gotta deal with the ball just a little higher. I had three turnovers, and gotta do a greater job of that. Issues like that, we clear that up, we’ll have a superb likelihood.”

A Fast repair?

Even with slumping sixth man Immanuel Quickley in a protecting boot and unavailable Monday as the newest sufferer of the series-wide ankle epidemic, I didn’t imagine Thibodeau’s quote about having “every thing on the desk” meant that he would mud off out-of-the-rotation veterans Evan Fournier or Derrick Rose in Sport 4. (Though taking an opportunity with Fournier’s defense-stretching capacity might need helped a staff that nailed fewer than 10 3-pointers for the third time in 4 video games.)

As a substitute, with the Knicks taking part in from behind the whole recreation, Thibodeau went with a shortened seven-man rotation within the second half. Obi Toppin performed 5 minutes within the recreation and Miles McBride performed 4.

“Their bench damage us within the first [half],” Thibodeau mentioned. “They’ve obtained [Kyle] Lowry with their bench, in order that’s rather a lot to cope with.

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts to a call along side Miles McBride #2 of the New York Knicks during the first half of game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at the Kaseya Center, Monday, May 8, 2023, in Miami, NY.
With the Knicks’ season slipping away, Tom Thibodeau didn’t have many minutes to supply Miles McBride and others deeper on the bench in Sport 4.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Publish

“So, how are we matching up? I knew they’d play Butler 40-something minutes. Bam was on the market a major period of time as properly, and actually they performed seven. Within the playoffs, rotations shorten up. That’s the fact of it.”

Straight to the purpose

One stat line misplaced amid Monday’s dispiriting loss was Brunson’s 32-point, 11-assist effort, regardless of persevering with to obtain remedy for an ankle damage suffered earlier within the collection.

Brunson has scored not less than 20 factors in all 9 postseason video games, tying late Knicks legend Willis Reed for the second-longest streak in staff historical past. Carmelo Anthony owns the longest such run for the Knicks with 16 consecutive video games of 20 factors or extra in 2012 and 2013.