The New York Knicks are riding high coming into their second-round series against the Miami Heat. The Knicks smashed the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round and now have home-court advantage in Round 2 because of the Heat’s shocking upset of the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s now time to make some Knicks predictions for this second-round series.
Guys like Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen were non-existent in the first-round, so major props must be given to Mitchell Robinson for being the best big man. Julius Randle and Immanuel Quickley were far from their peak selves in the series against the Cavs, but they still won in five. New York’s defense has been incredible, and they will hope to continue that in their much-anticipated matchup against the Heat.
Only a few individuals predicted a Knicks-Heat second-round affair, but here we are in a classic ’90s NBA battle.
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3. Immanuel Quickley will average 18-20 PPG
For the player who finished second in the Sixth Man of the Year race, Immanuel Quickley had a subpar series against the Cavs. There were two games in which he scored three and zero points, respectively. Most of Quickley’s impact on the floor is through his incredible shot creation and brilliant scoring prowess. Without Tyler Herro for Miami, the Knicks must win the backcourt matchup in every game against the Heat.
Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart will have a massive impact, but Quickley will swing the tide in the series. With Gabe Vincent, Kyle Lowry, or Max Strus likely defending Quickley, he must pound them and continually attack their defense with reckless abandon. In the Milwaukee Bucks series, they got away with smaller defenders because Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton were non-factors.
2. Mitchell Robinson will continue being the best big in the series
Julius Randle’s status for the first two games at Madison Square Garden is still in question, so Mitchell Robinson will be the stud who will stand out in the battle of the bigs as the Knicks go up against Bam Adebayo and Co. Robinson will also be instrumental as the primary help defender when Jimmy Butler constantly attacks the paint.
Josh Hart or RJ Barrett will have the hefty challenge of containing Butler. Still, Robinson’s rebounding and shot-blocking abilities will propel New York to critical wins against Miami. Robinson will average over 12 boards against the Heat and optimistically 2.5 swats per game. On the offensive end, he will also grab several offensive rebounds and catch the defense napping with timely lobs from Brunson and Quickley.
1. The Knicks win the series in six
The Knicks have home-court advantage as the fifth seed, which rarely happens in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. Moreover, the Madison Square Garden crowd has insane passion and dedication to their squad, so the Knicks will only lose one game at home. Their defense has been tremendous, as Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell did not produce close to their usual numbers in five crucial contests.
The Cavs were the first squad this season to score less than 80 points in any game. That Game 3 debacle swung the momentum to New York, and they did not let it go. The Knicks will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2000, and New York will be rocking for the next couple of weeks during this playoff run.