What’s done is done. There’s no need to revisit the past because the outcome can’t be changed. With a clean 82-game slate ahead of them, the New York Knicks put the second-round playoff loss to the Heat in the past months ago.
Behind Nikola Jokic, Jimmy Butler was the best player in the 2023 postseason. Before clashing with the Knicks in a renewed 90s rivalry, Butler and the Heat overpowered the No. 1 Bucks in the first round. Given Giannis Antetokounmpo played in only three games, Miami winning the series was still impressive.
The Heat were dealing with injuries of their own, including Tyler Herro. He fractured the third and fourth metacarpals in his right hand in Game 1 of the series against the Bucks and was sidelined for the remainder of the postseason. Herro watched from the bench (subscription required) as Miami finished off Milwaukee before powering through New York and Boston.
"“It was tough emotionally. My mind was set on making a good playoff run,” Herro admitted. “When I first got hurt, everybody was like, ‘No way he’s coming back.’ We were the eighth seed, going against the Bucks. Then, we beat them. We knew we were gonna beat the Knicks. Then, Boston was a great series. I was just waiting for that series to see what was gonna happen – if I had any hope of coming back (during the playoffs).”"
Tyler Herro says Heat knew they “were gonna beat the Knicks” in 2023 playoffs
This isn’t an attempt to make an excuse for the Knicks losing to the Heat in the second round. It was a series that Miami dominated from start to finish, with Jalen Brunson being New York’s lone bright spot. Year after year, Jimmy Butler is still counted out, even when he’s proven he shouldn’t be.
Tyler Herro hasn’t been able to recreate his postseason thrill from when the Heat made it to the NBA Finals in the 2020 Bubble, where the guard averaged 16 points on 43.3% shooting as a rookie. Maybe Herro would’ve been one of the notorious 2023 playoff heroes if he hadn’t injured his hand, but that’s an outcome that will forever be unknown.
Miami thrives as an underdog, and maybe because the hype entering the Eastern Conference Semifinals was geared toward New York and its homecourt advantage, the Heat knew the frenzy was setting up the perfect storm.
However, it is interesting for Herro to say that the Heat knew they would beat the Knicks. Like many non-Knicks fans around the league, it seems that Herro still looks at New York as one of the lesser teams in the conference. The Heat made it past the Knicks without Herro’s help, so in the end, they got the last laugh.
A miraculous finals run led to a terrible offseason where Herro’s name was caught up in endless trade rumors. Miami wanted Dame, but Portland didn’t want Herro, who the Heat wanted to be the centerpiece of a Lillard package.
It might take Miami making it past the play-in tournament again, but expect the Heat to find a way to weasel their way into the playoffs. If another Knicks-Heat series is in the cards, New York should play with added motivation to return the favor to Miami and end its season. Maybe then, Tyler Herro and the Heat will give playing the Knicks a second thought.