MIAMI — In the end, the Miami Heat were just too much for the New York Knicks. Both talent and health were on the side of the higher seed.
But that doesn’t mean that the Knicks laid it all out on the floor in Game 5, a 106-94 Heat victory that sent Miami on to a conference semifinals matchup with the Indiana Pacers.
After averaging just nine offensive rebounds through the first four games of the series, the Heat had eight by halftime on Wednesday, finishing with 13. It was the first game in the series in which Miami had the rebounding advantage.
And though the Knicks had just three live-ball turnovers through the first three quarters, the Heat had 17 fast-break points. They finished with 20, which matched their highest total in the last 25 games.
Rebounds and transition defense. Those are effort categories.
Combine that with a whole lot of selfish offense from J.R. Smith, who shot 3-for-15, and the you can say that the Knicks took themselves out of this game and this series.
The Knicks gave themselves a little self-respect with their Game 4 win on Sunday. That kept them from getting swept and ended a 13-game postseason losing streak.
But they seemingly washed that away with a less-than-stellar effort in Game 5, wasting their return trip to South Beach.