Nikola Jokic missed three of his last four shots and had a turnover in the final minutes of the Knicks’ victory over the Nuggets.
Your main supporter? Mitchell Robinson.
Robinson’s fingerprints were all over the Knicks’ victory over Denver on Saturday. 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 at full strength.
“Jokic is a very talented player,” said Robinson. Getting there, getting the win, it was great.
This was also Robinson’s first game since he wrote a Snapchat post complaining about his role in the Knicks’ offense. Robinson followed up with an Instagram post, saying he’s been through a lot personally recently.
After Saturday’s win, Robinson said he’s really happy with his role in New York.
“If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be playing (the way) I just played. So yes,” said the fifth-year center.
Tom Thibodeau seemed to take Robinson’s comments about his role in stride.
“Mitch has been fantastic all season. Anyone can have a bad day. If you had a bad day, recover, have a great day. Don’t put anything in the team’s way,” Thibodeau said after the Knicks won.
I think he understands that. Your teammates respect and appreciate you. We know all the dirty work he does for the team. It’s a big part. He has a huge role for our team. Get out and play, next play, don’t worry about what happened on the next play. Nobody is perfect.”
Based on how his teammates feel about him, it would be surprising if any Knicks were upset by Robinson’s Snapchat post.
“We’re all brothers, so we kind of even joked about it a little bit on the plane,” Immanuel Quickley he said. “Mitch, he’s a great guy off the ground. Obviously, I think everybody knows that. He’s, like, a character. He can be a little funny and outgoing.
We understand who Mitch is and we said to him, ‘Anytime we can help him get the ball a little bit more, let’s try to do that.’ So, we don’t take that either (seriously). We want everyone on the team to be happy and try to eat as well as win.”
The Knicks have had a lot of wins lately. That’s 12 games over .500 with 10 games to play. They will go into next week at least 1.5 games ahead of Brooklyn for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
And they managed to win with both Jalen Brunson and Robinson out for significant stretches.
“Sometimes guys are dealing with injuries or not playing at their best and it’s great to know that you go to the bench and you have guys who can start, guys who can produce at a high level in this league,” he said. josh hart said about the depth of New York. “And it gives you comfort to know that it might not be my night, but it will be someone else’s.”
“There are guys coming off the bench who could be in the starting line-up. Obviously, you have the starters, who are obviously starters for a reason. And you saw the depth that we have with Deuce coming in, especially that Portland game — the whole trip, but especially that Portland game playing like he played. That’s something you want down the stretch.
That’s something that sometimes guys are dealing with injuries or not playing their best and it’s great to know that you go to the bench and you have guys who can start, guys who can produce at a high level in this league. And it gives you comfort knowing that it might not be my night, but it’s going to be someone else’s.”
Isaiah HartensteinUltimately, the game of is an example of the depth of New York. He and Josh Hart helped the New York bench keep the game going even into the fourth quarter.
Hartenstein had three rebounds and an assist in the fourth quarter. The Knicks outscored Denver by one point on that stretch, giving the starters a chance to clinch the game.
In the seven games leading up to Saturday’s victory, Hartenstein had a +/- minus of +85 – a number that shows how much he’s impacted games lately.
“I don’t know if it’s a change as he’s processed everything. I think he’s a lot more comfortable,” said Thibodeau.
When a player comes in and he’s new, he’s adjusting to a new system and new teammates, it takes a little bit of time. One of the by-products of when Mitch was away, it gave him a chance to really get into a groove and he got healthy. That’s a big part of it too.”
Julius Randle loves what he’s seen of Hartenstein lately.
“He’s just doing a bunch of little things. If he scores 10 points, 15 points, he hits, he defends, he gets his hands on plays and dodges and things like that. It defines screens, really good screens,” said Randle.
He just does a bunch of little things for us that help us win.”
Taking 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 reached those numbers off the bench for New York.
Afterwards, Hart warned against the Knicks getting too comfortable at this point in the season.
“It’s a nice win for us playing against a tough team like that, playing the top seed, but at the end of the day we can’t be complacent. I think if we beat a team like that and we get complacent, it doesn’t mean anything,” Hart said.
So work hard, keep improving, keep learning. We’d rather learn from victories than defeats. We took Minnesota on Monday. A tough team from Minnesota. They will come here ready to go.