The Miami Heat have taken a 2-1 lead against the New York Knicks in the second round of the 2023 NBA playoffs. Jimmy Butler led the way — as he always does – but many of his teammates are rising to the occasion. Kevin Love highlighted one key player for Miami that has had a strong impact: Max Strus.
As the Heat look to make it back to the Eastern Conference Finals, Love’s long outlet passing has been huge. On one key play in the first quarter, Strus went long and Love found him for a fast-break slam. The veteran forward was very complimentary of Strus after the game, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic.
Max Strus was on the receiving end of this latest Kevin Love touchdown outlet pass
Heat up 21-10 on the Knicks late in the 1st quarter of Game 3.pic.twitter.com/3PdyfwuGMr
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Love called Strus a “very underrated athlete — deceptively athletic,” according to The Athletic. Strus had 19 points in Game 3 after posting 17 in the prior game with Butler out. His shooting and sense of moving without the ball have made him one of Miam’s key supporting pieces. He has stepped in at numerous ley moments for the Heat over the last two seasons, including in their play-in game win over the Chicago Bulls.
The Heat beat the Knicks 105-86 with a great defensive effort led by Bam Adebayo. New York shot 34.1 percent from the field and 20.0 percent from deep. Although Miami shot just 21.9 percent from downtown, they were able to score enough to win comfortably. The efficient shooting from Strus (7-14 from the field) played a big part.
The Heat have the chance to go up 3-1 against their long-time rival on Monday.
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