Possibly they have been due one like this.

Possibly the Warmth might sense at halftime — once they have been solely down 5 and it felt prefer it must be 15 — that they might steal this, particularly with the Knicks lacking Julius Randle, particularly with the Knicks capturing the basketball as if the edges have been frosted in kryptonite.

Possibly all of this stuff contributed to the 108-101 thumping the Warmth laid on the Knicks Sunday afternoon at Madison Sq. Backyard, a convincing end result that stole home-court instantly from the Knicks and left 19,812 spectators feeling a little bit bit like theater followers who pack a theater for an enormous present, solely to see a slew of understudies take the stage.

“The ball,” Jalen Brunson mentioned, “wasn’t going within the basket for us.”

You begin there, certain.

You begin with the Knicks misfiring on 27 of the 34 3-point makes an attempt they fired (and possibly throw in for kicks and giggles the eight free throws they missed, too).

Brunson, RJ Barrett and Josh Hart have been 1-for-16 from lengthy vary and the Knicks have been outscored by 18 factors from 3. That’s exhausting to beat.

Josh Hart and the Knicks misplaced Recreation 1 to the Warmth on Sunday afternoon.
Charles Wenzelberg

So was the truth that because the Warmth seized management of the sport, the Knicks saved permitting Miami gamers to leak behind them for simple layups. So was the truth that after Jimmy Butler rolled his ankle late within the fourth, and seemed for a time like he would possibly cross out, the Knicks by no means exploited that on both aspect of the ground regardless that Butler was utterly hobbled.

So was this, and this would possibly’ve been the most important issue: in a season when Brunson has been in the course of each good factor that’s occurred to the Knicks, on at the present time, he was in the course of each scuffle and battle. He completed with 25 factors, however missed all seven of his 3s and had 5 turnovers.

“As we speak,” he mentioned, “I used to be horrific.”

And added: “I’ve acquired to do higher.”

Observe The Put up’s protection of the Knicks vs. Warmth NBA playoff sequence

The Knicks can survive both Brunson enjoying poorly or Randle having to observe the sport in civvies. It’s exhausting for them to take action when each issues occur.

Through the 12-minute stretch bridging the second and third quarters when the Warmth went from 12 all the way down to eight up, the Knicks cried out for somebody to step up and cease the bleeding.

Brunson tried; he simply didn’t have it. Randle was solely in a position to cheer.

And the day melted away from there.

“They picked up the depth, performed exhausting and made pictures,” mentioned Barrett, who performed spectacularly within the first half earlier than cooling within the second, ending with 26 factors and 7 assists — but additionally 4 turnovers. “We didn’t.”

They didn’t, and it price them home-court benefit, similar because the final time they’d come this far, 10 years in the past, when Indiana walked into the Backyard and stole Recreation 1 of the East semis. The Knicks spent the remainder of that sequence attempting to catch up and by no means might; that’s the very same predicament they discover themselves in now.

“We knew how robust this was going to be,” Hart mentioned.

RJ Barrett scored 26 points in the Knicks' loss to the Heat in Game 1.
RJ Barrett scored 26 factors within the Knicks’ loss to the Warmth in Recreation 1.
Charles Wenzelberg

The primary two weeks of the postseason had been straight out of a dream for the Knicks, a five-game manhandling of the Cavaliers, two wins on the street, an acre of feel-good vibes following them into this sequence. Sunday afternoon, they assumed an odd juxtaposition, going from hunters to hunted. The Warmth have been coming in on simply as outstanding a roll.

And it was the Warmth who loved the carryover.

“It’s robust enjoying catch-up,” Brunson mentioned.

However that’s what they needed to do on Sunday as soon as the Warmth lastly took the lead again at 66-64. Seven and a half minutes left within the third, and the Knicks by no means did get nearer than three down the stretch. And it’s precisely what the Knicks should do on this sequence. They should win not less than one street sport now. They’d certain higher maintain serve Tuesday evening.

“We’ve acquired to make pictures,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau mentioned.

It begins there. They’ve to start out making pictures. They should make the most of Butler if he exhibits up a step gradual in Recreation 2. They should hope that Randle’s ankle will get him again on the ground quickly as a result of whereas they’ll survive stretches with out their second-best participant, they certain don’t wish to make a behavior of attempting.

What was it that Mike Tyson as soon as mentioned? Everybody has a plan till they get punched within the mouth. The Knicks acquired punched within the mouth Sunday afternoon. Let’s see what the plan is now.