The No. 5 New York Knicks and No. 8 Miami Heat will meet in the second round of the 2023 NBA playoffs after both teams took out higher seeds in the first round. The Knicks defeated the No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers in five games, while the Heat took out the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games as well. Here’s everything you need to know about these teams entering this series.
The Knicks now have a real chance to go to the conference finals, something they haven’t done since 1998-99. New York will have some concerns over Julius Randle’s injury, but this group is clicking at the right time. Jalen Brunson continues to build a legacy as a Knick despite this being his first season, and R.J. Barrett is coming along nicely. Mitchell Robinson has been an impactful player on the boards and the Knicks are exploiting the matchups they need to. If Randle can get back in time for the bulk of this series, the Knicks should have the edge.
The Heat have been riding the Jimmy Butler train in the first round. They mounted not one but two stunning double-digit comebacks to take Games 4 and 5, rendering Giannis Antetokounmpo’s return moot for Milwaukee. The Heat are going to be down Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo, but with Butler playing like this it might not matter. Bam Adebayo’s presence will be a key factor in this series given New York’s efforts on the glass. Can peripheral scorers like Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus keep lighting it up from deep? Butler will maintain his production but the Heat will need other sources of offense if the Knicks decide to focus their attention on the the star forward.