RJ Barrett hit the tiebreaking jumper with 7:14 left in the fourth quarter Wednesday night to begin a decisive game-ending run for the host New York Knicks, who solidified their playoff hopes and earned a key tiebreaker by pulling away from the Miami Heat for a 101-92 victory.
Immanuel Quickley scored a game-high 24 points off the bench while Quentin Grimes added 23 points for the Knicks (44-33), who are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
With the victory, New York won the season series between the teams 3-1 while extending its lead over the seventh-place Heat (40-37) to four games.
The top six teams in each conference earn a playoff berth while the seventh- through 10th-place clubs compete in a play-in tournament to determine the final two seeds.
Josh Hart had 13 points off the bench while Barrett and Jalen Brunson had 12 points each for the Knicks, who ended the game on a 17-8 run.
Julius Randle left with 2:35 left in the second quarter after spraining his left ankle while landing awkwardly on the Heat’s Bam Adebayo.
Gabe Vincent scored 21 points for the Heat, who also fell 1 1/2 games behind the sixth-place Brooklyn Nets by virtue of the latter’s 123-114 win over the Houston Rockets. Tyler Herro scored 16 points while Jimmy Butler and Duncan Robinson finished with 12 points apiece.
The teams combined for 12 lead changes and 12 ties in the middle two quarters and two more lead changes and two more ties in the first three-plus minutes of the fourth.
Quickley hit a technical free throw to tie the score at 84-84 after Cody Zeller was whistled for three seconds with 8:42 left. The teams combined to miss their next four shots before Barrett put the Knicks ahead for good.
Caleb Martin split a pair of free throws for the Heat before Hart and Grimes scored four points apiece in an 8-0 run for the Knicks, who led by as many as 11 down the stretch.
–Field Level Media