It was a collective effort as Julius Randle left the game in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle and Jalen Brunson not playing some of the higher leverage minutes. Once again, Immanuel Quickley led the way with 24 points off the bench and Quentin Grimes had 23 points along with eight rebounds and four assists.
Josh Hart did a little bit of everything as he chipped in 13 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. He also had one of the plays of the night with his slicing drive and dunk.
This win was so important for multiple reasons. The Knicks struggled at the start of the game and then lost Randle to injury. New York was also reacclimating Brunson to the lineup and with all of that one their plate they clinched the season series over the Miami Heat. In doing so, their magic number is two to clinch a playoff spot and they have a four game lead in the loss column over Miami with the tiebreaker.
New York has been up and down in the month of March and their injury situation played a big role in that, but they have been able to weather the storm. Many players have stepped up during that stretch to keep the team on course. Randle’s situation will be updated at some point today, but at the time of writing there are no updates on his ankle so we will see how that impacts the rest of the regular season.
The performance against Miami is another example of the defensive effort that has helped to keep the standards high and Hart’s impact on that end of the floor has been contagious since he was acquired.
Fans of the Knicks over the years when talking about terrible Knick performances or performers also talk about what a Knick player “should” do and how they “should” play on the court in the orange and blue. Hart is that player. He was that player time and time again at Villanova during Big East Tournament games at MSG and now is doing it in a Knick uniform. New York bringing him in just seemed to click everything into place.
Now New York will look to finish the season strong as their potential first round opponents, the Cleveland Cavaliers, are up next on Friday in Cleveland. Tip off is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. and we will see you then!