3 Major Takeaways From Knicks' Stunning Game 2 Win over 76ers

The Knicks snagged victory out of the jaws of defeat to command two game series lead over the 76ers. What were the key stories from the Game 2 thriller?
Apr 22, 2024; New York, New York, USA;  New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) celebrates
Apr 22, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) celebrates / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Hart Continues His Dominance 

In his postgame pressure with his former college teammates, Josh Hart spoke glowingly about how the team enjoys how they’re playing basketball this season under the tutelage of Tom Thinodeau. 

“I think we all love playing for him. I think we'll all run through a wall for him,” Hart said about the team’s bond with the coach that has them in the postseason for the third time in his four-year stint with the organization. 

Truthfully, it feels like Hart has become that guy that the entire city of New York would run through a brick wall for. He brings everything that characterizes what the Knicks and their fanbase want to embody—toughness, grit, relentless energy and versatility—and it’s all packed in a small but hefty punch. 

After his opening round debut in which he scored 22 points, knocked down some late threes and notched 13 rebounds, Hart was back at it on Monday night with a performance for the ages. He nearly copied his scoring total from the previous game, posting 21 points on 7/16 shooting from the field, 4/7 from three range and added 15 rebounds that was the most by any player in the contest. 

Similar to Maxey, Hart got going early with seven points in the first quarter that kept the Knicks from slipping too much behind the 76ers run. He doubled down with 13 points in the second quarter with three of his four deep jumpers and had the Knicks within 4 at the half. 

Hart was the offensive fixture in the first half with the other players from Game 1, such as Miles McBride and Bogan Bogdanovic, getting off to a slow start to Game 2. It was the toughness all over the court that didn’t let Philadelphia run away with it as New York suffered its latest bout of adversity.

“He gives the team real toughness. It's a big part of the fabric of this team,” Thibodeau said after the game about his shooting guard. 

Hart’s performance marks the second time he has torched the 76ers since they waived him off as an illegitimate threat from beyond the arc in Game 1. Their game plan was to focus heavily on Jalen Brunson and his impact on the scoreboard, but clearly they didn’t watch enough film to know that will not always be the best outcome for an opponent. 

What’s made the Knicks so special this year is their ability to make you sweat in a number of different ways. They do so many things right in the span of 48 minutes, and you can’t rest on your laurels against any man of the rotation. If you don’t, then you get the Josh Hart effect which has captured the hearts of the Mecca and will continue to do so as long as this playoff run goes forward.