The New York Knicks and Miami Heat begin their Eastern Conference semifinals series on Sunday. Both teams were able to advance to the second round after upsetting their respective opponents in the first round. The No. 5 Knicks defeated the No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers in five games, and similarly it took the No. 8 Heat just five games to topple the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. Now the two teams will face off for a chance to reach the Eastern Conference Finals beginning with Game 1 at Madison Square Garden.
The Heat and Knicks, who last met in the 2012 postseason,, and hopefully this latest series will offer some more memorable moments like previous series between the two teams. For what it’s worth, the Knicks have won three out of four meetings between teams during the regular season.
Before Game 1, here is the start time, information, odds, storylines and a prediction for the competition.
(5) New York Knicks vs. (8) Miami Heat
- Date: Sunday April 30 | Time: 1 p.m. ET
- Location: Madison Square Garden—New York, New York
- TV channel: ABC | Live broadcast: fubo (try for free)
- Opportunities: Knicks -4; O/U 207.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | New York Knicks versus Miami Heat
curtsy: The health of Julius Randle is the main storyline for the Knicks entering this series. Randle injured his left ankle again in the first half of the New York vs. Cleveland final in the first round and did not return.. The Knicks are a much harder team to plan for when Randle is available — a guy who’s averaged 25.1 points per effort during the regular season — so they’ll be at a disadvantage when the series starts.
heat: For the Heat, the question is simple: How much is Jimmy Butler left in the tank after practically single-handedly propelling Miami to victory over Milwaukee in the first round? Butler scored at least 30 points in four of the five games in this series and amassed 98 points in the last two games to seal one of the biggest upsets in the playoffs in recent memory. Though other players have risen around Butler as well, the heat will only go as far as Butler can take it. So it will be interesting to see if he can put the team on their backs for a second straight series, especially against a Knicks defense that will surely be poised to stop him.
Both teams are driving into serious momentum after going down on business in the first lap and this is a series that promises to be a rough one. Julius Randle’s health could prove a factor in Game 1, and it’s difficult to decide against Jimmy Butler the way he’s been playing lately. Choose: Heat +4