Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals, as usual

Heat player Jimmy Butler (number 22) against the New York Knicks in Miami on May 12, 2023.

Here they are again in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Miami Heat eliminated the New York Knicks on Friday, May 12, by winning the sixth game of the series (96-92) thanks to the combined efforts of stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

It’s the third time in four years that the Heat have reached this stage of the competition. In 2020, in Orlando’s anti-Covid bubble, he dismissed the Celtics to join the final, which was ultimately lost to LeBron James’ Lakers. Last year, Boston had taken its revenge, at the end of a series of suspense. And a reunion cannot be ruled out, because the Machusetts team will have the opportunity on Sunday, at home, to complete its series against Philadelphia (3-3).

While waiting for this scenario to be fully realized, the Heat fought to extinguish the inclinations of the Knicks, who started very strong in this meeting, since they led by 15 units in the first quarter, carried by the untenable Jalen Brunson, author 15 points with a 5 of 6 behind the arc. The New York leader, always so generous – he played 45 minutes – finished with 41 points on the clock, becoming the first player in the franchise to chain three playoff games in a row with at least 30 points, since Patrick Ewing in 1990.

Butler for a first NBA title

Until the last minute, causing the gap to narrow to 92-90, he was a constant threat for the Floridians, unlike Julius Randle (15 pts, 11 rebounds) and RJ Barrett (11 pts) who shot at 4 out of 24 between them.

Despite a starving long-range address (7 out of 27), the Heat had more offensive weapons to catch up, even if Jimmy Butler was not on his best night (24 pts, 7 out of 22). To support him, he had Bam Adebayo, who sounded the revolt of the team in the second quarter by scoring 11 of his 23 points (9 rebounds), and Max Strus (14 pts), author of important baskets in money time.

“I like to wet the shirt for the wins, that’s what we do best. We have done it all season (…) There are very good players in this team”, rejoiced Butler, who will necessarily still need them in tune to advance further. And get his first NBA title, in a franchise already crowned three times (2006, 2012, 2013).

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The World with AFP

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