MIAMI — As the New York Knicks stand on the brink of elimination after a 109-101 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night, All-Star forward Julius Randle voiced his thoughts about his team’s collective mindset that shows just how far New York’s confidence has fallen over the last week.
“Maybe they want it more,” Randle said. “I don’t know. That’s been who we are all year and we got to find a way to step up and make those plays, keep the season alive.”
Randle’s answer came after he was asked why the Heat continue to have success beating the Knicks on hustle plays this series. Again in Game 4, the Heat outrebounded the Knicks 44-35, including seven offensive boards in the fourth quarter alone.
Throughout the first four games of this series, the Heat have been the more aggressive, more physical group. So how does Randle think the Knicks can get their edge back?
“Look within,” he said. “That’s all I can say, look within, and how bad do you want it?”
In the span of a week, the Knicks have gone from a group full of belief to a group that can’t find any answers against a veteran Heat team that wasn’t shaken by the stage of Madison Square Garden in Games 1 and 2.
“I think that we found the value in the grind of a regular season,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “In the grind and the struggle. I’ve said that repeatedly. We found a beauty in that struggle, but without that struggle where we didn’t have to find different solutions to win and different guys stepping up so that they had the confidence for these kind of moments. If we didn’t have a regular season, then you have zero chance to be able to do that in the playoffs.”
Miami is 14-0 all time when leading 3-1 in a best-of-seven series, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Knicks are 0-14 all time when trailing 3-1 in such series.
As the Knicks look ahead to Game 5 on Wednesday night at MSG, they do so knowing they must find a way to be more physical and tougher against Jimmy Butler and the Heat.
“My mindset I think going forward, we’re on the brink of elimination, so [give] everything you got,” Knicks guard Jalen Brunson said. “That should be the mindset of everybody. No matter what you do, no matter what you have to do, you just got to go out there and give it your all and keep your confidence. I know it’s kind of easy to say, but it’s a big thing to keep your confidence.”
ESPN’s Andrew Lopez contributed to this report
Knicks on brink of elimination as Heat take home Game 4