Coach: Josh Hart is like a Swiss Knife, he does everything
Knicks win over Miami
In a very hard-fought game between the number five seed in the Eastern Conference New York Knicks and the Miami Heat – now at number 7 in the East- the Knicks pulled away late to defeat their opponent 101-92 at Madison Square Garden.
Julius Randle injury
Despite losing their biggest star to a sprained left ankle just before the end of the first half, New York cut turnovers and started defending better in the second part of the game, with an outstanding contribution of players coming from the bench.
In the fourth quarter, while the Heat ran out of gas in their second consecutive loss in two days, coach Thibodeau didn’t make any substitution, keeping the same five players, three of which coming from the bench. Immanuel Quickley had 24 points, while Quentin Grimes scored 23, and Josh Hart had 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
The Knicks are close to clinching a playoff spot. “We take it step by step by step,” Thibodeau commented with a tad of superstition.
Josh Hart’s character and skills
The Knicks coach praised Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson for their character and contribution to the team, especially in difficult moments. “He has added a lot to our team,” coach Thibodeau said about Josh Hart, who joined the team in February. “The toughness and competitiveness has been huge for us. He can guard multiple positions, he’s obviously an elite rebounder, a big loose ball hustle-type guy. Hits timely shots, can push the ball, you can initiate your offense with him. Like a Swiss army knife, he does everything. And he just makes us function well. So tonight, when Julius went out and we asked him to be a backup for us, he did a terrific job.”
Jalen Brunson’s leadership
Brunson scored 12 points in his return from a two-game absence due to a sprained hand. “They were playing just incredibly. They just found a way to keep fighting,” the point guard commented. “Everything they were doing on both sides of the ball, they were clicking. So, you’ve just got to go with that.”
Brunson was ok with sitting out the fourth quarter. “I was trying to buy some time for him when we took him out, his first game back,” the NY coach explained. “The most important thing is winning the game. And that’s what I love about Jalen. He was like: ‘I am good. He came back to the bench; he was cheering his teammates. That’s what you want, you actually want your guys to sacrifice and put their team first. Leadership doesn’t get any better than that.”
Knicks All Star Julius Randle had started all 77 games so far in the season and is going to be evaluated today.