MIAMI — Tom Thibodeau has insisted he doesn’t have a set finishing lineup.
The Knicks coach proved it Friday night when he went with RJ Barrett, rather than Immanuel Quickley, as one of his closers in the Knicks’ dramatic 122-120 win over the Heat.
“Just the way it was going. I thought RJ had given us some [good] minutes,” Thibodeau said. “I wanted to get a different type of player to attack the rim when the ball came out [to the perimeter].
“Both guys are terrific and both guys played well. Each night it will be someone different.”
Barrett scored 17 points on 8-for-15 shooting, though he missed all four of his 3-point attempts. Quickley scored 21 points and was 5-for-9 from deep.
Thibodeau has been going with Quickley over Barrett in crunch time of late. He did insert Quickley back into the game for the final minute.
Jalen Brunson turned his right ankle late in the third quarter and had it taped up before returning early in the fourth. He didn’t show any ill effects and played the final 10:53. He finished with 25 points and eight assists in 35 minutes.
“He’s going to give you everything he has. You know that he’s tough-minded,” Thibodeau said. “He’s going to make plays. He got nicked up, he keeps going, he never stops.”
One of the biggest challenges facing the Knicks, who have won eight straight games and 13 of 17, is preventing overconfidence from setting in.
“I think the big thing is to make sure everyone is concentrating on what we have to do. Go step by step, don’t take any shortcuts,” Thibodeau said. “Stay humble and be hungry. Things can change very quickly in this league. You can go from good to bad real fast and from bad to good real fast.”
Mitchell Robinson, who went 1-for-1 from the field, has made 18 consecutive shots.
He is one behind Johnny Newman’s franchise record of 19, which was set from Jan. 1-8, 1988.
The Heat were without point guard Kyle Lowry (knee).
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