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Heat vs. Knicks player props predictions: Focus on defense with these Game 5 props

We've targeted two player props for Game 5, as the New York Knicks host the Miami Heat.

Julius Randle of the New York Knicks posts up Bam Adebayo  of the Miami Heat during game three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Kaseya Center on May 06, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Julius Randle of the New York Knicks posts up Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat during game three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Kaseya Center on May 06, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)Read moreEric Espada / Getty Images

The NBA playoff doubleheader Wednesday kicks off with an Eastern Conference semifinals matchup, and we’ve put together Heat vs. Knicks predictions as we target the player props market.

New York returns home trailing 3-1 after losing both games in Miami. Given the history between these two teams, it’s no surprise that this series has been more of a defensive slugfest.

We’ve seen the full range from 207.5 to 210 points through four games. The bookmakers opened Game 5 at 210 points, and the betting market has weighed in, pushing the number down to 209.5 at most sportsbooks.

When picking player props, it always helps to use the total as a foundational piece of how the game might flow because there’s an implicit correlation between the numbers.

As a result, I’ll be taking more of a defensive approach when building out my props card for this Game 5 matchup.

Odds provided by BetMGM and current as of 12 p.m. Wednesday. Subject to change.

Heat vs. Knicks prop: Bam Adebayo over 0.5 steals (-130)

This prop is all about the inefficiency in this market, as Adebayo’s projections dropped after he failed to record a steal through the first three games of this series.

That’s quite an overreaction, given that he averaged 1.6 steals per game in their first-round matchup against the Bucks. Let’s not forget that Adebayo averaged 1.2 steals during the regular season in 75 games.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news around the league, you’ll also know that the All-Defensive teams were recently announced. Adebayo landed on the All-Defensive Second Team, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that will help to shape his mind-set heading into this Game 5 matchup.

With the Knicks facing elimination, they’re likely to play this game with desperation, and that’s when mistakes can seep in. New York has the third-worst turnover mark during these playoffs, with 14.4 per game.

Thus, there should be some opportunities for Adebayo to create havoc on the defensive end and record a steal.

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Heat vs. Knicks prop: Jalen Brunson under 2.5 three-point field goals (-145)

In just his first season in New York, you could easily say that Brunson was the most important Knickerbocker this season. As a result, he’s easily a public favorite and a player likely to be overhyped.

While there’s no question that Brunson is capable of going off and having a big game, he’s never been a player that can get you three-plus three-pointers on average.

In the regular season, Brunson shot a career-best 41.6% from beyond the arc, but it’d be interesting to see how many of those shots were contested because he only averaged 4.7 attempts per game.

Usually, if you’re shooting with that high a percentage, you’d want more attempts.

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During this postseason, we’ve seen Brunson increase his attempts to 6.7 three-pointers per game, but his percentage is down to 28.3%. One conclusion we can draw is that the quality of looks you’ll get during the regular season compared to the playoffs are vastly different.

Since the start of this series, Miami is limiting New York to 10 three-pointers per game.

Overall, New York is shooting just 28.2% from the perimeter against the Heat. Thus, Brunson isn’t the only player on the Knicks struggling to find his outside touch.

The Knicks now have very little room for error, and their best chance to keep their season alive is to buckle down defensively and be aggressive by driving into the paint. That way, you can draw a foul at least and get a three-point opportunity the old-fashioned way.

Brunson is just 2-of-12 from the perimeter in his past two games, and given the circumstances, I’m not sure this is the spot to try to shoot himself out of a slump.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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