Spoelstra, Heat preparing for showdown with Knicks

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra reacts during the first half in Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff game Sunday, April 16, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) (Morry Gash, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MIAMI – It feels like old times for the Miami Heat and New York Knicks.

The rivals will once again be meeting in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

Game 1 is on Sunday on Local 10 at 1 p.m.

The Heat were carried past Milwaukee, mainly by an epic performance by Jimmy Butler.

He scored 98 combined points in games 4 and 5.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Jimmy on Friday, “He’s all about the right things. He takes competitions very seriously as we all know. That’s probably the understatement of the year. He’s wired like us.”

The Knicks were led past the Cavs by guard Jalen Brunson.

Spoelstra had high praise for Brunson on Friday.

Spoelstra said, “He’s really unique. You don’t come across a player who is as crafty and aggressive and physical, but also can get you off balance. When he’s in the paint and around the basket and in a crowd that’s probably where he’s most comfortable. That’s super unique.”

On the rivalry, Spoelstra said, “I don’t think it matters to either of the locker rooms. And that’s okay. Those battles were so long ago. It probably means something to the organizations, but ultimately this is about accomplishing something huge.”

About the Author:

David Lang is executive producer of the Local 10 sports department.