Aside from spoiling Carmelo Anthony's return to MSG on New Year's Day with a win over the Blazers, 2020 hadn't been kind to the Knicks, who were riding a five-game losing streaking heading into Sunday's matchup with the Heat.
Miami came into the game as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, and the Knicks were without their leading scorer in Marcus Morris, so it wouldn't have been all that surprising if the Heat left New York with another win under their belt.
Instead, the Knicks took a 10-point deficit into the fourth quarter and dropped 40 on the Heat, holding on down the stretch in a tight final minute to stun Miami.
"It's a great feeling," head coach Mike Miller said on the win. "I just told the guys that I'm so happy for them and so proud of them for hanging in there and battling back. ... got great, great efforts all the way down the lineup tonight, huge plays down the stretch. I'm very happy for our group and it's a big win for us. When you get down like that late, you've got to stop, score, stop, score, and we were able to put those two ends together and cut into it."
The final 30 seconds made the game into quite a thriller if the first 47 and a half minutes hadn't already.
After a Julius Randle layup put the Knicks up, 122-119, Jimmy Butler was fouled on a three-point attempt and went to the line to shoot three free throws.
The first two? No problem for the All-Star. But Butler missed the potential game-tying final attempt and RJ Barrett scooped up the rebound before being fouled himself and sent to the line on the opposite side of the court. The rookie went 1-of-2 to widen the Knicks' lead to two with 16.8 seconds to play.
"The ball just kind of came right to me," Barret said on his rebound. "I'm a competitor, so I really hate that I missed those free throws, but we got the (win)."
Barrett went to the line again after Butler turned the ball over on the next possession, and went 1-of-2 once again to put New York up three for good.
"I just wanted to make any play I could to help the team. ...It was a great team effort," Barrett said. "Today we just kept going, we were resilient all game, I think we were down 10 going into the fourth, but we just played hard. Got huge minutes from Kadeem Allen, Kev(in Knox) played great tonight, so it was a great team effort."