Erik Spoelstra addresses Jimmy Butler’s struggles in Miami Heat-New York Knicks Game 5

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When the Miami Heat took the court for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the New York Knicks, it looked like they had a great chance of winning and advancing to the next round.

But the Knicks took control in the second quarter, and although Miami threatened late, it fell short 112-103.

Jimmy Butler went 5-of-12 from the field and didn’t have his best, and Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra had a simple explanation for his lack of effectiveness.

“Yeah, it’s the playoffs,” said Spoelstra. “Sometimes you’re not going to get all the clean looks that you would like. But you gotta figure out how to get the job done even if you win it ugly.”

It is often said that the NBA is a make-or-miss league, and some nights, a team’s offense simply doesn’t click. On those nights, a team needs to rely on its defense and rebounding and find ways to get easy baskets.

Miami has done most of the little things throughout this series, but Game 5 was an exception. The Knicks had a huge advantage at the free-throw line and on the boards, and they shot a much higher percentage from the field than Miami did.

One glaring deficiency in this game for the Heat was transition defense. The Knicks, like the Heat, love to play slow basketball, but on this night, they looked to speed up the pace in front of their home fans at Madison Square Garden, which resulted in 16 fast-break points for them.

So often, Butler is deadly in crunch time of a close game, but Game 5 was not an example of that. Thus, even when Miami came to within two points late, it was at a bit of a disadvantage.

The good news for Miami is the fact that it is heading home for Game 6, where it has been rock solid this far in the playoffs. However, the Knicks will not go down easily, as they see themselves as a gritty team, much like the Heat do.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif. and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s, and during that time he has lived through the Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James era of Heat basketball. He feels strongly that the NBA and sports aren't just entertainment, but also a means for learning life lessons.