The playoffs are revealing, the prospect of elimination much more so.

What they’ve proven about RJ Barrett is nothing however constructive.

The Knicks got here into Wednesday’s second-round Sport 5 enjoying for his or her postseason lives, and Barrett helped preserve them respiratory for one more day.

He’s been their most constant participant on this collection not named Jalen Brunson, and helped information them to a 112-103 must-have victory earlier than a sellout crowd of 19,812 on the Backyard.

Barrett completed with 26 factors on 8 of 17 capturing, discovering the uncommon weak spots in Miami’s protection.

He grabbed seven rebounds, performed stable protection all night in serving to Quentin Grimes cool off white-hot Warmth star Jimmy Butler, and helped ship the Japanese Convention semifinals again to South Florida for Friday’s Sport 6.

The previous No. 3-overall choose has been up and down, flashing the potential that had the Knicks dreaming of All-Star berths after which hitting prolonged ruts.

However this postseason he’s acquitted himself properly on each ends, coming in opposition to a confirmed veteran staff and Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.

RJ Barrett dribbles the ball throughout Sport 5 of the Japanese Convention Semi-Finals in opposition to the Warmth.
NBAE through Getty Photographs

Barrett got here into Wednesday averaging 19.4 factors and 4.4 boards, and had upped that to 22.0 and 4.8 in opposition to the Warmth whereas most of his Knicks teammates had struggled.

He was even higher in Sport 5 on Wednesday, attending to the tin, beating the 2-3 zone when Miami pulled it out and feasting within the midrange.

And Barrett’s protection was key. Grimes had the duty of guarding Butler — whose 33.5 factors in these playoffs had been second-highest to Devin Booker — however Barrett did his justifiable share on each ends.

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

Barrett’s 3-pointer capped an 18-2 blitz to begin the second quarter and get the Knicks again within the sport. And his two-way play sparked one other game-changing 22-7 run within the third.

The Knicks had been clinging to a 50-47 edge on the half that was tenuous at greatest. However Barrett blocked a drive by Butler, the Miami star dropping a shoe and by no means crossing midcourt. It ended up wanting like a five-on-four hockey-style energy play, with Brunson drilling a 3-pointer for a 67-54 lead.

Then after one other stable defensive play by Barrett and a Butler miss, the Knicks wing got here downcourt and hit a dagger jumper.

Jimmy Butler puts up a shot as RJ Barrett defends during the second quarter.
Jimmy Butler places up a shot as RJ Barrett defends throughout the second quarter.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Put up

Barrett ran a stable two-man sport with the beforehand struggling energy ahead Julius Randle, who lastly broke out with a stable sport.

Barrett bought place on Miami level guard Kyle Lowry, on whom he has 6 inches and practically 30 kilos. He overpowered Lowry, and when a change got here he hit a 14-foot baseline turnaround over the outreached arms of Kevin Love.

It capped a 22-7 run, and gave the Knicks a 72-54 lead with 6:12 left within the third quarter.

His free throw on the following journey down 17 seconds later padded the cushion to a game-high 19, they usually by no means let it go — regardless that it appeared they had been making an attempt to down the stretch within the fourth quarter.