Miami is one win away from making the Eastern Conference finals all the way from the Play-In Tournament. The energy in Madison Square Garden tonight will undoubtedly be interesting with New York’s backs against the wall, so we’ll preview tonight’s game before going over my prop play for the action.
You could rewatch game four countless times and look at advanced numbers all day to figure out what the Knicks need to do in order to climb back in this series, but for the most part, it comes down to one thing, and that is effort. The second half of game four was tough to watch at times as New York consistently got out hustled and allowed an appalling amount of offensive rebounds, which kept them from making a legitimate run to get back in the game.
There are some ways to show the difference in who wants it more, outside of Julius Randle blatantly saying that Miami may want it more. Some of these things may not win you a specific game, but they can help win the series, as Miami is coming up with an average of (7) loose balls per game, as opposed to the Knicks (4.3) per game. Miami is also drawing 1.75 charges per game, while the Knicks have drawn just .25 per game this series.
Entering tonight, the Heat and Knicks actually have the same rebounding percentage for both offensive and defensive rebounds in this series. Still, when it comes down to timely rebounds, the Heat are in the lead in that category. Miami has a 34.6% offensive rebounding percentage and 70% defensive rebounding percentage in the fourth quarter, while the Knicks have 30% and 65.4% in those categories, respectively.
Outside of hustle stats and rebounding, the bench production in this series has primarily been in favor of the Heat. Through the first four games, the Knicks bench has a NET rating of (-6) and a true shooting percentage of 43.5%, so in order to keep the series going tonight, the Knicks starters will need to step up even more, both with production and effort.
For my prop play in this one, I’ll be targeting Bam Adebayo to go over his rebounding total of 8.5, which is currently priced at (-115). The big man has gone over this total in the past two games and is averaging 10.1 per game over his last ten games. Adebayo has been able to take advantage of the Knicks' lack of fourth-quarter production as he ended game four with three offensive rebounds to go along with his ten defensive rebounds.
In the series, Adebayo is averaging 17.3 rebound chances per game and is pulling down an average of 3.5 contested rebounds per game which are both the best on the Heat and second-best in the series. Miami has outrebounded the Knicks in the past two games, as they have seemed to put a big emphasis on improving their rebounding presence after the first two games.
This season, Adebayo has not shown a drop-off in rebounding production when playing on the road as opposed to at home. In fact, the Heat center is averaging more offensive rebounds per game on the road and averages a team-leading 9.26 rebounds per game on the road as well.
Bam Adebayo Over 8.5 Rebounds (-115)