Coming into this game, the Miami Heat had lost six straight - their longest losing streak since the beginning of the 2016-17 campaign.
To make matters worse, a couple of minutes into the second half at the Madison Square Garden, the Knicks were leading this grind-out, defence-first game by seven (45-38), just a shade off their largest lead of nine.
That's when Jimmy Butler turned it on.
Over the next 6:31 minutes, the Heat went on a 23-9 run that flipped the game on its head and Butler scored (13) or assisted on 18 of those.
he makes it look so easy 👀 pic.twitter.com/XArNZqrdpv- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 30, 2021
He scored 15 of his game-high 27 in the third quarter, one the Heat outscored the Knicks 39-21 and held on to win 98-88.
"Jimmy really just broke free, in semi-transition, to get going to start that third quarter," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said postgame. "Once he was just able to get us the lead again, then other guys started feeling a lot more comfortable."
While also recording six assists and five rebounds, Butler finished with his third-best shooting (10-15 FGs) efficiency of the season so far.
"I made some shots with my left hand, which definitely don't happen very often," Butler said in his on-court postgame interview about his third quarter. "We were guarding, getting out into the open floor but more than anything was having fun."
Prior to the losing streak, during which the team had the second-worst defensive rating, the Heat were among the hottest teams in the league when they won 11 of 12.
"It's on me and Jimmy to make sure when we up 15 and they cut it to eight, we got to keep that lead," the Heat's other star forward Bam Adebayo said postgame.
Bam Adebayo says he and Jimmy Butler knew they had to feed off one another to get tonight's win over the Knicks#HEATTwitter pic.twitter.com/MIfcpRlMLv- FOX Sports Florida & Sun (@FOXSportsFL) March 30, 2021
After Butler's third-quarter domination, Adebayo put his stamp on the game in the final quarter. He scored or assisted on 13 of the team's 23 fourth-quarter points.
Bam wasn't going to be stopped tonight 💥- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 30, 2021
20 Pts / 17 Rebs / 4 Asts / 2 Blks / 1 Stl pic.twitter.com/ldhZPlJwWH
With the win, the Heat have swept the season series with the Knicks and continue their domination over the New York franchise, having won nine of their last 11.
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