Isaiah Hartenstein’s Block at Buzzer Saves It! NY 105 Cleveland 103

Isaiah Hartenstein came up with a CLUTCH block of Donovan Mitchell‘s floater 2 feet from the basket with seconds left — and Evan Mobley‘s desperation shot off the offensive rebound was way off to give the Knicks a 105-103 win over Cleveland.

It caused a Tuesday-night Madison Square Garden crowd to erupt in elation and Knick fans all over Twitter to let out a collective PHEWWWWWWWWWWWW!

Hartenstein’s block was the culmination of a terrific night for him — 23 minutes of heads-up play, rebounding, and energy — and provided help to the Knicks main man, Julius Randle — who led the Knicks with 36 points on 11-21 shooting (8-12 from 3!), 13 rebounds, and 4 assists.

“It’s kind of what I came here for,” said Hartenstein afterwards. “I know myself. I’m not playing as good as I’m supposed to be playing. I feel like I’m kind of letting the fans down; the city down a little bit. But I’m just going to keep getting better because I know I can do it.”

NY improves to 26-23; Cleveland falls to 29-20.

1. Randle Led the Way

The Knicks came out strong and had the lead in the 1st quarter, but Cleveland came back to go ahead in the 2nd. NY came right back to take the lead at the half, 53-51. At the core of it was Julius Randle — hitting 3’s, and connecting on drives inside.

But Cleveland pulled out to a 69-61 lead in the 3rd after Donovan Mitchell’s second 3 of the quarter and a tip in by Jarrett Allen.

Knick fans started thinking bad thoughts.

The Knicks were far from done however — RJ Barrett with a 3, buckets from Julius Randle, Quentin Grimes, and Jalen Brunson — and then at the end of the period, a step-back jumper and a 3 by Julius Randle put NY on top 80-75 heading into the 4th.

The final period was a back-and-forth war — NY forged ahead but Donovan Mitchell clawed Cleveland back with 3’s. It was a tie game until Randle came through AGAIN with a 3 from the top of the key for a 103-100 NY lead.

2. Cleveland Allowed Back In on Bad Call on Barrett

Jalen Brunson free throws gave NY a 105-100 lead with 40 seconds left — but Darius Garland drove for a bucket-and-One — a 3-pt play that made it a game again, 105-103 NY with 39 seconds left.

It was a poor call by the refs, as Barrett barely touched Garland at the front of the drive — they not only called a foul they gave Garland a superstar and-one call. NBA analyst Monica McNutt was one of many who felt it was a terrible call, and she said so on the postgame.

The play was compounded 20 seconds later when Randle’s drive was blocked, and Barrett got an open 3-pt attempt but shot an air ball. Barrett had been 3-4 from 3 on the evening.

3. Hartenstein the Hero

So it came down to the final play — Cleveland with 15 seconds to attempt a score. Donovan Mitchell put head down and went at the Knick basket with seconds remaining — going all the way to the rim for the floater — and Isaiah Hartenstein BLOCK!

Hartenstein described what was going through his head on the play: “Thibs screams it every time, ‘verticality! verticality!’ so that was all going thru my head, just being vertical. No matter what he does — if he tries to dunk it, be vertical. If he tries to do what he did — try to get a foul — my main thing was to be vertical; if he made it he made it we go to overtime; but I wasn’t trying to give him the ammo.”

Hartenstein had his best night as a Knick — 9 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal, 2 blocks (only credited with 1), and 4 points in 23 minutes of tenacious, enthusiastic, heads-up basketball.

4. Knick Guards Good

Immanuel Quickley was back after missing a game and he provided energy at the start of the 4th — leading the 2nd team and scoring 9 points overall (on 4-8 shooting) with 5 rebounds and 6 assists — and hooking up with his buddy Obi Toppin who had another terrific night (11 points in 10 minutes on 4-6 shooting).

RJ Barrett had a fine night overall — 16 points on 5-12 shooting (3-5 from 3).

Miles McBride played 12 minutes of good D, scoring 2 points with 3 assists — he was a +13.

Donovan Mitchell had a quiet 1st half, but was cooking in the 4th from 3 — and finished with 24 points on 9-24 shooting (6-14 from 3), with 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals.

4. Sims vs Allen

Jericho Sims vs Jarrett Allen was an interesting matchup — in that the two have a similar game. Allen is bigger, and an All Star — while Sims is still establishing himself. Sims played well but overall had a hard time containing Allen who went for 24 points on 12-17 shooting and 12 rebounds.

Sims had 4 rebounds and 2 points in 25 minutes.

The Boxscore

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