Heat top Knicks 105-86 in Jimmy Butler's return

Butler returns from ankle sprain to score 28
New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes blocks shot by Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler in Game 3 of NBA second-round playoff series, May 6, 2023
Posted at 6:39 PM, May 06, 2023

MIAMI — Jimmy Butler returned from his sprained ankle to score 28 points, Max Strus added 19 and the Miami Heat topped the New York Knicks 105-86 on Saturday to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Bam Adebayo had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Miami and Kyle Lowry added 14 points as the Heat never trailed.

Duncan Robinson opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer, giving Miami an 11-point lead — and the lead remained double digits the rest of the way.

Jalen Brunson scored 20 for New York, which got 15 from Josh Hart, 14 from RJ Barrett and 12 from Immanuel Quickley — who left midway through the fourth quarter after appearing to twist his left ankle. Julius Randle added 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Knicks.

Game 4 is Monday.

Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson drives to basket vs. New York Knicks
Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson drives to the basket against New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA second-round playoff series, Saturday, May 6, 2023, in Miami.

There was even a Heat-Knicks dustup under a basket, just like the good ol' days of the teams' playoff rivalry — though this one was nothing like P.J. Brown flipping Charlie Ward in 1997 to start a bench-clearing mess that led to suspensions, or Jeff Van Gundy tugging on Alonzo Mourning’s leg in 1998.

This one, such as it was, happened with 14.7 seconds left in the third, after a basket by Quickley got the Knicks within 87-70.

Randle and Cody Zeller got tangled as they fought for rebounding position. Randle ended up getting shoved to the floor, Isaiah Hartenstein took offense and shoved Zeller, Caleb Martin took offense and shoved Hartenstein, and it took about five minutes to sort out a mess that lasted for about five seconds.

The final tally: offsetting technicals on Zeller and Hartenstein, plus a technical on Martin. Randle missed the free throw. And right after it happened, Butler was dancing a bit, enjoying the aftermath of the show.

"Much ado about nothing," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Butler missed Game 2 with his ankle sprain and limped at times in the second half Saturday, but was effective throughout. He had 10 points in the opening quarter as Miami set the tone on both ends; the Heat made 10 of their first 15 shots, the Knicks missed 13 of their first 17, and it took until midway through the second quarter for New York to make a shot from anywhere other than the paint.