Miami Heat Eliminate New York Knicks, Advance to Eastern Conference Finals

The Miami Heat are going back to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat defeated the New York Knicks 96-92 in Game 6 on Friday night, surviving a blazing-hot performance from Jalen Brunson (41 points on 14 of 22 from the field) to win the series in Miami.

The Heat got the better of a defensive struggle, outshooting the Knicks 33/82 (40.2%) and 27/71 (38.0%). Jimmy Butler (24 points, eight rebounds, and four assists) and Bam Adebayo (23 points, nine rebounds, and one assist) contributed solid if unspectacular games. Brunson was comfortably the best player on the court, but he surrendered a steal to Kyle Lowery to all but seal the game late.

With the win, the Heat become the rare eighth-seed to make a conference finals. The last team to accomplish the feat, the 1999 New York Knicks, eventually went on to make the Finals, losing 4-1 to the San Antonio Spurs. It's yet another surprising deep playoff run for the Heat, who have made the conference finals in three of the past four years. Notably, Butler joined the team ahead of the 2019-20 season.

As for the Knicks, they can content themselves in the knowledge that they've landed a real star in Brunson. The 26-year-old proved himself a winning player this series, averaging 31.0 points per game with a very solid 50.3% field goal percentage. He's turning out to be perhaps the savviest move of 2022 free agency. 

Unfortunately, it appears the Knicks will need a lot more around Brunson to progress any further than the conference semi-finals. Excluding Brunson, the Knicks hit on a mere 19 of their 60 field goal attempts (31.7%).

The Heat will face the winner of Sunday's Game 7 showdown between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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