The Super Nova Bros propelled the Knicks to victory against the Cavs in Game One, but which team will come out swinging tonight?
How y’all feeling⁉️ pic.twitter.com/Rz3sK3jXjB
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 18, 2023
What a fantastic showing in Game 1. Led by Jalen Brunson’s 27 points and Josh Hart’s 17 points and 10 rebounds, the Villanova tandem had what it took to get the job done for the Knicks. No matter how exhilarating a win can be to open the series, New York must take it on a game-by-game basis to ensure the Knicks don’t get too high or too low. It’s the mentality they’ve had all regular season and must continue to keep as they make their playoff push against a Cavs team that is bound to get hot.
Josh Hart (sprained left ankle) is doubtful for Game 2 at Cleveland.
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) April 17, 2023
Following a fantastic playoff debut, Josh Hart is listed as questionable (a step up from the doubtful tag he had received earlier in the day) after suffering an ankle injury during the fourth quarter of their 101-97 victory. On the other side of things, Dylan Windler is listed as out for the Cavs with a foot injury. Once again, it’ll become a next-man-up mentality should Hart be forced to sit this one out. Aside from the injury of Hart, the rest of the squad will be good to go as they seek another win as road warriors.
Giving I-Hart his flowers
During the final stretch of the fourth quarter during Game 1, Tom Thibodeau made the decision to take out his starting center, Mitchell Robinson, in favor of his backup, Isaiah Hartenstein. It was clear that Robinson wasn’t doing what he was asked to do, especially defensively, which is what sparked the adjustment. In the last few months, Hartenstein has shown the Knicks staff that while he isn’t the most athletic player, he can impact the game in many different ways, whether it’s passing, rebounding, or very occasionally, scoring. During Game 1, Hartenstein may have only scored 8 points, but his team-high +19 box plus/minus shows how influential he was in this game, as well as his team. His ability to space the floor and do his due diligence with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley makes him invaluable for the rest of this series.
Hartenstein FloatGoat pic.twitter.com/7dVarw1eEN
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 15, 2023
It’ll be interesting to see what Tom Thibodeau could be looking at in the near future, especially if the tides turn and the odds go against the Knicks. Could it force Thibodeau to start Hartenstein over Robinson? It’s something worth looking at, especially considering what the Knicks are trying to do out there on each and every play. With off-ball movement becoming crucial against a weaker perimeter team, having Hartenstein out there poses more challenges for the opposition, especially since Hartenstein can create looks for his teammates, as opposed to his athletic counterpart. I personally don’t see this adjustment happening, since Robinson is extremely adept at getting second-chance opportunities, something that isn’t a strong suit of Hartenstein’s. At the very least, it wouldn’t surprise me if Hartenstein were to see more burn time than the 22 minutes he saw on the floor during Game 1. Either way, both Robinson and Hartenstein will continue to play a vital part in protecting the paint from various threats on the inside from Cleveland.
Saturday evening’s matchup was easily one of Immanuel Quickley’s worst performances of the season. Thankfully it wasn’t a night where he was needed, especially on the offensive side of the ball, as the Knicks pulled out the victory. Now that the playoff jitters are aside, it’s time we get back to seeing the IQ that we were used to seeing all season long. Especially with Josh Hart questionable to play, all hands must be on deck, including Quickley’s, to potentially grab a commanding 2-0 lead.
Game 1 on Saturday was the first game in Immanuel Quickley’s career that he had
• 3 Points or less
• 3+ Turnovers
Ready for a bounce back! pic.twitter.com/QbxpUkTCnT
— KnicksMuse (@KnicksMuse) April 18, 2023
Although he scored just three points in Game 1, Quickley still managed to impact the game in different ways, mostly on the defensive side of the ball. For the Knicks to win this game, IQ must come ready to play on offense. Last time out on the floor, Quickley found himself in trouble multiple times, picking the ball up while in midair, only to telegraph a pass cross-court for an easy steal. For Quickley to have a better Game 2, he needs to not only make smart reads but also play with more aggression. Too often it looked like IQ wanted to get rid of the ball, which is why he telegraphed his passes and turned the ball over. In this game, keep an eye on how he attacks in the lane and facilitates the basketball. Against a Cleveland bench that lacks depth, this will be a great opportunity for Quickley to right his Game 1 wrongs and help New York get another win on the road before heading home on Friday.
Tip-off is at 7:30 on TNT.