MIAMI — Right here’s the factor. They’re proper. All of them. They’re proper, and so they’re preserving all of it in perspective, and so they’re performing like grown-ups, and so they’re performing like professionals and … and, properly, rattling them for all of that. 

“It’s irrelevant,” Julius Randle mentioned. 

“It’s nothing,” Cody Zeller mentioned. 

“You simply begin over,” Isaiah Hartenstein mentioned. 

These had been the three principals within the dustup — if it could possibly even qualify as a dustup — that broke up the monotony of the Warmth’s 105-86 throttling of the Knicks in Recreation 3 of those Japanese Convention semifinals Saturday. 

And that was that. No arduous phrases. No arduous emotions. If we’re speaking like accountable residents then we applaud all the events concerned, certain. They acted within the warmth of the second, then metaphorically shook on it. It was over. Apparently, heading into Recreation 4 on Monday night time, it’s over. 

There was 14.1 seconds left within the third quarter Saturday and the Warmth led 87-70. The sport was over, regardless of there being 12 minutes and alter left, anybody who’d watched already knew that. Immanuel Quickley had simply made a 13-foot floater for the Knicks. As he did, Zeller collided with Randle and Randle took a spill into the basket stanchion. 

He wasn’t damage, and in reality was smiling. However Hartenstein noticed this and pushed Zeller within the again. Reacting to this, Miami’s Caleb Martin shoved Hartenstein, too. All three had been whistled for technicals. Zeller’s and Hartenstein’s offset. Martin’s allowed Randle to take one technical free throw. To no person’s nice shock, Randle missed the foul shot. 

Julius Randle of the New York Knicks is knocked to the ground as he and Caleb Martin of the Miami Warmth battle for a rebound.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Isaiah Hartenstein #55 of the New York Knicks and Cody Zeller #44 of the Miami Heat
Isaiah Hartenstein and Cody Zeller scuffle throughout Recreation 4.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

And whereas within the second it certain felt like a thanks-for-the-memories throwback to some previous Knicks-Warmth shenanigans from again within the day … properly, no. There was Randle’s chortle. There was Jimmy Butler shimmying throughout the ensuing delay, additionally smiling, then spinning a ball on his fingertips, as carefree as a child on the playground. 

And look, formally and for the report: good. We don’t want the previous tough-guy sideshows that used to both sidetrack or spotlight these previous collection. We don’t want bloodshed. We don’t want haymakers and indignant oaths. The sport must be sufficient, OK? Formally and on the report: good for Zeller. Good for Randle. Good for Hartenstein. Good for basketball, proving as soon as once more that “ball don’t lie” as Randle’s T bounded away. 

Between us? 

It’s OK to confess, your blood began to race a bit, didn’t it? Sure, this recreation was over for all intents and functions — however the recreation was additionally over again in 1997, at previous Miami Area, when Charlie Ward and P.J. Brown — who’d attended prayer companies collectively not three hours earlier — grew to become entangled throughout a garbage-time free throw on the finish of Recreation 5, a brushfire that quickly escalated into one of many darkish moments in Knicks historical past as soon as the NBA star chamber got here after them. 

The sport was additionally over again in 1998, a second and alter left when Alonzo Mourning took exception to Larry Johnson’s … properly, being Larry Johnson, the ex-teammates and longtime enemies stepping into it, taking swings at one another, Jeff Van Gundy turning right into a human street-sweeper as he grabbed Mourning’s leg. The Knicks misplaced LJ for Recreation 5 however the Warmth misplaced Mourning. 

As Sean Connery helpfully advises in “The Untouchables”: “They ship certainly one of yours to the hospital, you ship two of theirs to the morgue.” 

(And, sure, again in these days it was useful to maintain quotes like this on the prepared since you actually by no means knew once you may have the ability to use them.) 

Alas, that was then. 

That is now. 

This the kinder, gentler model of Knicks-Warmth, the company model, and so there have been no blood feuds provided and no phrases of struggle declared. They shook arms and moved on. Higher for the sport. Higher for the collection. Higher for each groups to not add gasoline to the respective fires at Kaseya Heart and Madison Sq. Backyard. 

Nonetheless. There was a time …