Knicks understand magnitude of ‘very important’ matchup with Heat

The Knicks will face a team directly above them in the standings for the first time this season at the Garden on Thursday night, with all four of their last 30 games against the Heat.

After Tuesday’s overtime loss to LeBron James and the Lakers, the Knicks are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference at 27-25, two games behind Miami for the sixth playoff spot to bypass the 7-10 playoff tournament. are

“Very important. Finding a way to get off the hump,” Jalen Brunson asked of the Heat after scoring a game-high 37 points in Tuesday’s loss to the Lakers. “Obviously, their The pass has great officials, a culture they talk about all the time.

“So they’re going to come in, they’re going to play hard. We’ve got to match their energy and pick it up on the defensive end. Offensively, we’re scoring a lot of points. Defensively that’s where it’s at. is where we have to pick it up.

Jaylen Brunson, pictured during a game last week, scored a game-high 37 points in the Knicks' loss to the Lakers.
Jaylen Brunson, pictured during a game last week, scored a game-high 37 points in the Knicks’ loss to the Lakers.
Corey Sapkin for the New York Post

Tyler Herro said the Heat wanted to avoid the play-in game for the postseason.
Tyler Hero and the Heat want to avoid a play-in game for the postseason.
Getty Images

The Heat have won 17 of their last 25 games since starting the season 12-15, including a win to within 1 ½ games of the fifth-place Cavaliers on Tuesday night in Cleveland.

“It’s very important. You don’t want to be in the play-in game,” Tyler Herro told the Miami Herald. “You want to feel secure in the postseason. We should focus more on home court than playing in.

Brunson et al Julius Randle Thursday will reveal whether either has been selected to participate in the Feb. 19 All-Star Game in Salt Lake City.

It would be the second nod in three seasons for Randle, who is posting career bests of 24.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game while appearing in all 52 games for the Knicks. It will be the first career pick for Brunson, who is averaging 22.8 points and 6.2 assists in 49 games in the first year of a four-year, $104 million contract.

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