Hart Makes Things Happen. NY 136 Toronto 130

Julius Randle scored like a bull all night against the Raptor front line, and RJ Barrett lit it up as well — but the game was tied 108-all with 8 minutes left when Josh Hart took over with hustle plays, offensive rebounds, passes, and drives on turnovers to push the Knicks to their final lead, as they beat Toronto on a Monday night at MSG, 136-130.

It was a great team win, as Quentin Grimes lit it up from outside with 5-9 from 3, Jalen Brunson did his thing, and Isaiah Hartenstein made huge play after huge play inside, with Jericho Sims his able backup now that Mitchell Robinson is out 8-10 weeks with ankle surgery.

“A number of guys stepped up,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “Jericho really did a good job for us. Deuce gave us really good minutes as well. Our bench was really strong. Julius got off to a real good start. The way we’re playing offensively, guys are creating advantages, sharing the ball. That stuff is really good. The rebounding could have been better. And we have to continue to work on our defense.”

NY improves to 13-9. Toronto falls to 9-14, and with Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby becoming free agents this summer, there’s already talk on the broadcast of this Toronto team making some trades to break it up and start over soon.

1. Randle a BULL All Night

Jesus Christ did Julius Randle take it to the LONG and ATHLETIC but SKINNY Toronto front line of Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby. From the start, Julius was dealing inside — using his full reportoire of inside moves, step-backs, drives, and slams — and then the pass outside to open up the offense. Randle would score 34 pts on 14-21 shooting, with 8 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Randle eschewed the 3 (going 1-3 from 3) to score at will inside with beast moves.


2. Sims Started; Hartenstein Terrific

With Mitchell Robinson now out for 8-10 weeks, Thibs started Jericho Sims, so that Isaiah Hartenstein could continue to work with the 2nd team, which has been so effective.

Sims played well — 7 rebounds in 21 minutes, 2 points and a +5.

Hartenstein got the bulk of the minutes, playing with the 2nd team and with the 1st team in the 4th quarter — and Hartenstein played his usual high-energy, big inside game, with great passing, inside scoring, and tough defense including a huge steal in the 4th. He had 11 points on 4-7 shooting and 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block in 27 minutes.

3. QGrimes Rain Maker

Quentin Grimes played another aggressive game in his second game off the bench — getting lots of touches and lighting it up from outside. He scored 19 points on 7-11 shooting (5-7 from 3).

4. Barrett Tremendous

RJ Barrett was efficient all night going to the basket, playing like a star. He was only 1-6 from 3 until hitting two 3’s in the 4th quarter to finish 3-8 from 3 — and 11-21 overall for 27 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block.

5. Toronto Stayed in It with 3’s in 2nd Half

Despite all that, Toronto stayed in it all night — especially by hitting 3’s in the 2nd half.

Every time the Knicks tried to pull away and build a 5- to 6-pt lead, Toronto would come right back with some 3’s.

O.G. Anunoby was 5-11 from 3 (11-20 overall) for 29 pts, Scottie Barnes was 3-8 from 3 (and 7-13 overall) for 20 pts, and Dennis Schroder even went 2-4 from 3 (and 6-12 overall) for 20 pts

Pascal Siakam snaked inside for 20 points and shot 1-2 from 3. Malachi Flynn was 2-2 from 3 (and 4-5 overall) for 10 pts.

6. Hart Hustle Plays in 4th

But then Josh Hart took over the 4th with hustle plays. The game was tied at 106 with 8:25 left when:

  • Hart drove for a score against a ton of contact to put the Knicks up.

  • Next time down he drove and fed RJ Barrett for a layup to put NY up 110-108.
  • Next time down he grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Quentin Grimes for a 3 — NY 113 Toronto 108.
  • Then a Brunson steal fed Hart ahead of the field for a drive — NY 115 Toronto 108 with 6:52 left. And pretty much ballgame. NY was in control.

Josh Hart had a big impact on both ends of the floor,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines.”Josh is fearless, gets into you defensively, hits the glass, plays much bigger than he is, finds the open man along with outworking you. Also, plays through every possession, gets all 50/50 balls and takes no play for granted.”

Hart finished with 16 points on 6-8 shooting (3-3 from 3), 7 rebounds, 8 assists, and a steal in 31 minutes and a +8.


Immanuel Quickley was out with minor knee soreness; Miles McBride got 10 minutes and played well, with 3 points, great D, and a +5.

The Boxscore



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