Mateo’s Hoop Diary: Terry Rozier powered the Heat past the Knicks

The depleted Knicks nearly dug themselves out of a 16-point hole, but the Heat pulled away in crunch time.

Tyler Herro (foot) was out for the Heat. OG Anunoby (elbow) and Julius Randle (shoulder) were absent for the Knicks. 

Early, the Heat’s defense forced three turnovers, locking up the passing lanes and pressuring the ball handler, plus paid close attention to Jalen Brunson. But Miles McBride and Donte DiVincenzo maneuvered through openings and converted deep looks.

On offense, Terry Rozier sprayed 12 points, reaching the rim through pick and roll, swishing a corner tray off an under-the-basket inbound, and making two catch-and-shoot transition threes plus a freebie. No other Heatle dropped multiple field goals in the first, but Butler drew fouls, posting up Josh Hart and dribbling past DiVincenzo for two trips to the line.

The Heat closed the first quarter on a 15-2 run and led 34-22, shooting 52.9% to the Knicks’ 36.8%.

Next, Brunson was contained to zero of three baskets, but Bojan Bogdanović poured in seven points off New York’s bench, hitting a putback jumper, two freebies and a wing triple behind Precious Achiuwa’s flare screen.

Countering, Rozier connected on two more trifectas, and Butler broke inside the paint for three finishes. The rest of the team made 29% of its ventures in the period.

At halftime, the Heat was up 58-43 and ahead on the glass by seven. The crew had 14 paint points, four on the break, seven via second chances, two after turnovers and 14 from the bench.

Rozier scored 20 on six of eight attempts, with three rebounds and a block. Butler filed 13 points on 44.4% shooting, with three rebounds and five assists. And Love tallied six points on four attempts and picked up two boards.

The Knicks had 14 interior points, nine in the open court, two on extra tries, six after turnovers and nine from the reserves.

McBride and DiVincenzo each had a dozen points on four of nine looks. Bogdanovic added nine points on six tries and recovered three rebounds.

But out of the break, the Knicks came out a sharper squad behind McBride and DiVincenzo. The former got to the cup for two on a left-side give-and-go with Isaiah Hartenstein, dribbled into the paint, logging a finger roll in front of Butler, cut up the baseline for a dunk and downed an open three at the top. The latter buried three triples and finished a mean lob, assisted by Brunson on the break.

Despite the Heat’s defense not having answers, the attack mostly did. Rozier and Adebayo combined for six of eight buckets in the frame, totaling 16 of the club’s 25 points. Yet, the Knicks’ backline pressured four extra turnovers

In the fourth, Brunson broke the zone twice with two floaters in the paint. DiVincenzo made another tray and two cut-and-scores on the baseline and through the middle. And with four minutes left, the Knicks tied the match, courtesy of Achiuwa’s putback.

In crunch time, the Heat responded with Haywood Highsmith’s banger over Brunson, three freebies from Rozier after getting fouled by Achiuwa on a deep shot, two baskets from Adebayo, and Butler’s five-foot floater over McBride.

The Heat won 109-99. The hosts picked up 34 paint points, nine on the break, 11 via second chances, 14 after turnovers and 32 from the bench.

Rozier provided 34 points on 10 of 15 attempts, with five rebounds, three assists, a block and three turnovers. Butler had 17 points on 41.7% shooting, with five rebounds, six assists and four turnovers. And Adebayo recorded 15 points on nine attempts, with nine rebounds, one assist and a steal.

The Knicks had 38 interior points, 14 in the open court, seven on extra tries, 21 after turnovers and 18 from the reserves.

DiVincenzo recorded 31 points on 11 of 21 attempts, with four rebounds, four assists and four steals. McBride scored 24 on 56.3% accuracy and picked up two rebounds plus two assists. And Brunson had 20 points, making five of 18 looks, with two rebounds, 10 assists and five turnovers.

Rozier handled the on-court interview. He said, “The Knicks [are] a great basketball team, and this league is all about runs. They went on a run, we stayed poised, we figured out what we needed to do on offense down the stretch, and we did it. We executed.”

At the postgame presser, coach Erik Spoelstra was asked about how the team guarded Brunson. He said, “Great players force you to bring a second defender, and sometimes, a third defender… he’s that good right now.”

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