Nikola Jokić missed three of his last four shots and had a rally in the final minutes curtsy‘ Win over the nuggets.
His main defender? Mitchell Robinson.
In the Knicks’ win against Denver on Saturday, Robinson’s fingerprints were all over the place. He had seven of New York’s 15 offensive rebounds and added three assists, a steal and a block in the win.
It was the first time in Robinson’s five-year career that he had defeated the Nuggets full force.
“Jokic is a very talented player,” said Robinson. Coming out of there, getting the win, it felt great.”
This was also Robinson’s first game since posting on Snapchat complains about his role on the Knicks offense. Robinson followed up with a post on Instagram, saying he’s been going through a lot personally lately.
After Saturday’s win, Robinson said he was indeed happy with his role in New York.
“If it wasn’t me, I wouldn’t be playing like I just did. So yeah,” the center said in its fifth year.
Tom Thibodeau appeared to take Robinson’s comments about his role in stride.
“Mitch has been great all season. Anyone can have a bad day. If you’re having a bad day, relax, have a great day. Don’t put anything in the team’s way,” Thibodeau said after the Knicks’ win.
I think he understands that. His teammates respect him and appreciate him. We know all the dirty work he does for the team. It’s a big part. He has a big role for our team. Go out and play, next game, don’t worry about what happened next game. Nobody is perfect.”
Based on how his teammates feel about him, it would be surprising if Knick was upset about Robinson’s Snapchat post.
“We’re all brothers, so we even joked about it a bit on the plane.” Immanuel Schnellley called. “Mitch, he’s a great guy when it comes to dancing. Of course I think everyone knows that. He’s kind of a character. He can be a bit funny and outgoing.
We understand who Mitch is and we told him, ‘Anytime we can help you get the ball a little bit more, we’ll try.’ So we don’t take it (seriously) either. We want everyone on the team to be happy and try to eat as well as win.”
The Knicks have been winning a lot lately. They are 12 games over .500 with 10 games to play. They will go at least 1.5 games ahead of Brooklyn for fifth place in the Eastern Conference next week.
And they managed to win with both Jalen Brunson and Robinson for significant routes.
“Sometimes guys struggle with injuries or guys aren’t playing their best and it’s great to know that you get on the bench and you have guys who can be starters, guys who can produce at a high level in this league. ” Josh Hart said of New York’s depth. “And it gives you comfort to know that it might not be my night, but it will be someone’s night.”
“You have guys coming off the bench who can be starters. They obviously have the starters, which are obviously starters for a reason. And you’ve seen the depth that we have with Deuce, especially the Portland game – the whole road trip, but especially the Portland game playing the way he did. That’s something you’ll want on the track.
That’s something that sometimes struggles with injuries or the guys not doing their best and it’s great to know you’re turning to the bench and you’ve got guys who can be starters, guys who are high in this league level can produce. And it’s comforting to know that it might not be my night, but it might be someone’s.”
Hartenstein is thriving
Isaiah Hartenstein‘s game lately is an example of New York’s depth. He and Josh Hart helped New York’s bench level the game in the fourth quarter.
Hartenstein had three rebounds and an assist in the fourth quarter. The Knicks outplayed Denver by one in that stretch, giving the starters a chance to end the game.
In the seven games leading up to Saturday’s win, Hartenstein was +85 plus/minus – a number that tells you how much he’s been influencing games lately.
“I don’t know if it’s a change as he’s processed everything. I think he’s much more comfortable,” said Thibodeau.
When a player comes in and is new, he has to get used to a new system and new teammates, it takes a bit of time. One of the byproducts of being out with Mitch gave him a chance to really get into the rhythm and he’s healed. That’s also a big part of it.”
Julius Randle loves what he’s seen of Hartenstein lately.
“He just does a lot of little things. Whether he’s scoring 10 or 15, he’s rebounding, he’s defending, he’s getting his hands on plays and deflections and stuff like that. Hire screens, really good screens,” Randle said.
He just does a lot of little things for us that help us win.”
Bring it to Hart
With Saturday’s win, the Knicks improved to 11-3 with Josh Hart in the lineup. They have 42 wins, which is a career high for Hart.
On Saturday, Hart had 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists. It was the second game he’d matched those numbers for New York from the bench.
Afterwards, Hart warned that the Knicks are too comfortable at this point in the season.
“It’s a feel-good win for us to play against such a strong team, to play against the Ones, but at the end of the day we can’t get complacent. I think if we beat a team like that and get complacent, it doesn’t mean anything,” Hart said.
So work hard, keep getting better, keep learning. We prefer to learn by winning than by losing. We got Minnesota on Monday. A strong team from Minnesota. You will come in here ready to go.”
Source : sports.yahoo.com