Posted on: April 17, 2023, 10:22h.
Last updated on: April 17, 2023, 10:22h.
Swingman Josh Hart from the New York Knicks could miss the next postseason game with an ankle injury.
Hart sprained his left ankle against the Cleveland Cavs in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series. He’s currently listed as doubtful heading into Game 2, which is slated for Tuesday night in Cleveland.
Usually with sprains like that, it’s more how you feel the next day,” said Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau. “Josh said he felt fine in the game, so we’ll see where he is tomorrow.”
The Knicks defeated the Cavs, 101-97, in an upset victory in Game 1. The Knicks were a +5 road underdog in Cleveland, but held off the Cavs to take a 1-0 series lead.
The Cavs opened as -4.5 favorites over the Knicks in Game 2. The line moved a full point to -5.5 after the public heard the news about Hart’s sprained ankle.
Knicks Now a Favorite to Advance to Second Round
As the #4 seed, the Cavs were installed as the betting favorite to defeat the #5 Knicks in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Before the postseason tipped-off over the weekend, the Cavs were -200 odds to advance to the conference semifinals. The Knicks were underdogs to win the series at +160 odds.
After the Knicks won Game 1, they became the new betting favorite to win the series at -160 odds. The Cavs saw their odds slip to +135.
When the regular season ended, the Knicks were +12000 odds as a long shot to win the 2022-23 NBA championship. The Knicks saw a tremendous increase in their title odds, which are now +4500 after their impressive road victory in Game 1.
The Cavs opened the postseason as +4500 odds to win the championship, but now they’re +5500 odds after dropping Game 1 at home.
The Knicks are +1800 odds to win the Eastern Conference title and return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1999. The Cavs saw their conference title odds slip from +1400 to +2200 odds.
FiveThirtyEight predicts the Knicks have a 58% chance to win the series, while the Cavs have just a 42% chance. Both teams have a 5% chance to advance to the 2023 NBA Finals, and both squads have a 2% chance to win the championship.
Hart Knocks Down Huge Trey in Game 1
Hart shot an astonishing 51.9% from 3-point range in his 25 appearances with the Knicks this season. He didn’t take many 3-pointers, but he knocked down more than half of his attempts.
Hart shot 8-for-11 from the field including a sizzling 7-9 from inside the 3-point line. He finished Game 1 with 17 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, and one steal. He also outscored the entire Cavs’ bench 17-14.
Hart attempted only two 3-pointers in Game 1, but connected on one huge trey late in the fourth quarter. The Knicks blew an 8-point lead with 4:30 to go in the game when the Cavs unleashed a 9-0 run during a two-minute span. With time expiring on the shot clock, Hart drilled a step-back three-pointer to put the Knicks ahead 95-93.
Big-time shot, bruh,” said Brunson. “Right place. Right time. Big shot.”
Thibodeau leaned on Hart in Game 1, and he logged 33 minutes of action off the bench. Starting power forward Julius Randle, who missed the last two weeks of the season with an ankle injury, is the only member of the Knicks who tallied more minutes (34) than Hart.
BIG TIME JOSH HART pic.twitter.com/PKb58p4WYX
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 16, 2023
Hart Finds Groove with Knicks
The Knicks were the fourth NBA team that Hart played for since he left Villanova. The Utah Jazz selected Hart with a late first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, but the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Hart in a draft-day trade.
Hart started 45 games in his first two seasons with the Lakers and averaged 7.9 points per game. The Lakers shipped Hart to the New Orleans Pelicans in a blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis.
In 2.5 seasons in New Orleans, Hart averaged 10.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. The Pelicans traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers midway through the 2021-22 season.
Hart averaged a career-high 11.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game with the Trail Blazers before he was traded once again.
The Knicks acquired Hart prior to the 2023 NBA trade deadline in a complex four-team trade with the Trail Blazers. He was reunited with former Villanova teammate Jalen Brunson. The two won a NCAA men’s basketball championship for Villanova in 2016.
Hart established himself as a defensive stopper off the bench for the Knicks, which quickly won over fans at Madison Square Garden. He instantly meshed with the Knicks’ second unit that includes Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, and Isaiah Hartenstein. In 25 games with the Knicks this season, Hart averaged 9.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game.
Since Hart joined the Knicks at the trade deadline, they are 18-8 overall.