The New York Knicks were able to stave off elimination and take Game 5 against the Miami Heat to tighten the series to 3-2. Both teams now head back to Miami and the Kaseya Center for a pivotal Game 6. If the Knicks can survive on the road, they will be able to force a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden, which is sure to be a raucous atmosphere. In order for the Knicks to win on the road, they will need a similar performance from Jalen Brunson that he put forth in Game 5. Brunson had 38 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists, leading the Knicks throughout. He also got some much needed help from Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, as the former had 24 points and the latter had 26. These three performances propelled the Knicks into a Game 6 in Miami.
The Knicks lost both games in Miami so far this series and will have their work cut out for them on Friday. If they can get similar performances from the three aforementioned they will certainly have a chance to win, although there is no guarantee. Jimmy Butler is undoubtedly going to show out better than he did in Game 5, as a series clinching opportunity at home suggests a great performance from the Heat star. Being able to win this series looked like a long shot once the Knicks went down 3-1, but a win in Game 5 sees them now a step closer. With their season on the line, here are three bold predictions for the Knicks in Game 6 vs. the Heat.
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Jalen Brunson goes off again for the New York Knicks
All season, the Knicks have gone as Jalen Brunson has gone. That was the case in Game 5, as his nearly 40 point triple double secured a victory for New York. With the Knicks backs still against the wall and them returning to an arena they have struggled in, Brunson understands he is going to have to another career-defining performance. Luckily for New York fans, Brunson will live up to the gravity of the moment, and replicate his Game 5 showing. Jalen Brunson will put 40 points on the scoreboard himself in Game 6.
Brunson has seen his scoring average jump five points in this series compared to the first round vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. This can be attributed to a much better opponent in the Miami Heat and Brunson understanding the need to elevate his game. If the Knicks are going to have any chance of pulling off the historic comeback, Brunson will need to post back-to-back elite performances. Luckily for Knicks fans, Brunson will do that in Game 6 and give New York a good chance of forcing a Game 7. Expect at least 40 points from Jalen Brunson in Game 6.
Julius Randle drops 30 against the Miami Heat
Julius Randle has struggled in the postseason so far, albeit a few decent performances. His less than ideal play does not come as a surprise, as he missed the last few weeks of the season with an ankle injury. He was forced to begin the 2023 NBA Playoffs without seeing any game action for at least two weeks, and the rust was clear. There are still moments where he looks hobbled by that same ankle on the court and it has forced the Knicks to rely on other options. However, with an opportunity to force a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden, Randle is going to rise to the occasion; he is going to score over 30 points for the first time in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
30 points in Game 6 will be a welcomed sight for Knicks fans, as they have not been able to enjoy the Julius Randle they did in the regular season. Albeit the ankle injury, excuses are not acceptable in the postseason, and Knicks fans have definitely expected more from their star forward. He has inevitably heard the noise, and he has a perfect opportunity to silence the doubters in Game 6. Scoring 30 points to force a Game 7 will silence any naysayers and will set up a series clinching affair that will define the series. Just like Brunson, Randle will go off in Game 6 and score over 30 points.
Knicks win, force Game 7
Game 7 are the two best words in sports, and one taking place at Madison Square Garden is history personified. With this opportunity ahead of the Knicks, and the alternative being their season coming to a close, they will play with an urgency they haven’t displayed in the postseason yet. This will lead them to a wire-to-wire victory and a comeback from being down 3-1 to tie the series at 3-3. The New York streets will be in pandemonium as they prepare for a Game 7.
The Knicks will win Game 6 on the backs of the aforementioned performances from Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, but expect great play from RJ Barrett as well. He has been very solid all series, including the 26 points he added in the all-important Game 5. Those three will combine to do most of the scoring for New York, and it will be enough to secure a win. Once the final buzzer sounds, the Knicks will be able to turn their attention back to the Garden and a Game 7 matchup for a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.
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