Stephen A. Smith Reacts to Knicks Loss to Heat

Julius Randle, New York Knicks

Getty Julius Randle, New York Knicks

On May 8, the New York Knicks‘ playoff future fell into severe jeopardy as they lost the third game of their second-round series against the Miami Heat.

Now, Miami only needs one more win to end New York’s season and progress onto the Eastern Conference Finals, where they will meet one of the Boston Celtics or Philadelphia 76ers. 

When speaking on a May 9 episode of ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith shared his thoughts on the Knicks’ chances, conceding that their postseason run is all but over.

“Yeah, they’re done,” Smith said. “They’re done. There’s no orange and blue skies. They’ll probably win game five – maybe. I don’t care. They’ll lose game six; it’s who they are. They can’t shoot when it really, really counts. The numbers, in totality at the end of the day for game four, look relatively impressive. But when it really, really counted, they were nowhere to be found…The Miami Heat are the smaller, tougher team. The New York Knicks were punked in game three. Flat-out punked. And then, in game four, they fought, but ultimately it comes down to who’s got the best player. They’ve got Jimmy Butler; we have Julius Randle.”

For the remainder of their series against Miami, however long that may last, the Knicks will be playing in win-or-go-home scenarios, as the Heat only need one more victory to progress back to the conference finals for the second straight year. Unfortunately for Knicks fans, beating the Heat in three straight games may be too much of a tall order for the current roster.

Julius Randle Questions Knicks Commitment

When speaking to the media following the Knicks’ May 8 defeat, Julius Randle noted how Miami appears to ‘want it more’ than New York does and that his team needs to up their performance level in game five.

“Maybe they want it more,” Randle said. “I don’t know. That’s who we’ve been all year, and we’ve gotta find a way to step up and make those plays if we want to keep this season alive”

Randle ended the contest against Miami with 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting 61.5% from the field and 25% from three-point range. However, the All-Star forward also struggled to take care of the ball, committing 6 turnovers, as the Knicks failed to match Miami’s intensity on both sides of the ball.

Tom Thibodeau Pinpoint Rebounding as Major Flaw

During his own post-game press conference, head coach Tom Thibodeau rued the rebounding disparity between the Knicks and Heat, noting how his team needs to do a better job of controlling the glass.

“We gotta get a body on people,” Thibodeau said. “They’re shooting long, we’re running in, and the ball’s going over our head.”

The Knicks boast more size than the Heat but ended the game being outrebounded 35-44, a 9 rebound differential, despite Mitchell Robinson, Randle, and Isaiah Hartenstein all seeing playing time throughout the contest.
The Knicks and Heat will face off against each other in game five of their series on Wednesday, May 10, with the Knicks looking to claw their way back into contention after two disappointing losses in a row.
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