Knicks, Tom Thibodeau Draw Massive Praise From 2-Time NBA Exec of the Year

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau

Getty Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks reacts with Jalen Brunson.

Two-time NBA Executive of the Year Bob Myers is a fan of the New York Knicks in this playoffs.

With the Knicks walking severely wounded into Game 7, Myers said their valiant effort is commendable no matter what happens on Sunday, May 19 at Madison Square Garden.

“If the Knicks don’t win on Sunday, it’ll be because of health,” Myers said after the Knicks lost 116-103 in Game 6 to the Pacers on Friday, Mary 17, in Indiana.

Myers believes the Pacers are healthy with only Bennedict Mathurin (shoulder) out of their lineup. But the Knicks, he pointed out could be out five players in Game 7.

Josh Hart‘s availability in Game 7 is in doubt after he suffered an abdominal soreness in the opening quarter of Game 6. He was later ruled out in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.

“I’m with you guys, without Josh Hart, that is a material loss [for the Knicks],” Myers said. “The way they’ve fought with who they’ve lost already is as commendable as any NBA team I’ve ever seen.”

Myers, the architect of the Golden State Warriors’ last four championships, believes the Knicks’ grit starts at the top.

“This next team’s resolve that I think starts with [Tom] Thibodeau, starts with [Jalen] Brunson trickles down to Hart and [Donte] DiVincenzo, what Miles McBride is doing, [Isaiah] Hartenstein and everybody, I love watching this team play,” Myer said. “I hope Hart can play because I don’t want to see if Hart can’t play, it’ll take some wind out of the sails of this whole Knicks experience in 2024.”

Josh Hart Expected to Play Despite Injury

Brunson and Hartenstein expect Hart to play through his injury in Game 7.

“I would assume he’s playing,” Brunson told reporters. “It’s Game 7.”

“Just knowing Josh, he’ll do whatever to play,” Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein added. “If his leg’s not falling off … he’ll probably say that he’ll probably play.”

Hart suffered the injury five minutes into Game 6. He went in and out of the game until he could no longer endure the pain in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.

Losing Hart, the Knicks’ iron man who has played the entire 48 minutes in four of their 12 playoff games, would be a major blow.

Despite soldiering on and shrugging off the pain until he could in Game 6, he was not the same player who averaged a playoff-leading 12.2 rebounds entering Friday’s game.

Rendered ineffective, Hart only grabbed eight rebounds and shot just 2 of 8 from the field for five points. The Pacers won the rebounding battle, which has become the barometer of the series, 47-35.

ESPN Analyst Believes Healthy Knicks Could Beat Celtics

ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon took Myers’ assessment of the Knicks to another level. Wilbon boldly picked the Knicks to beat the top-seed Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, but not in their current state.

“If the Knicks were healthy, I would take them to beat the Boston Celtics, who I can’t trust,” Wilbon said.

The Celtics have nearly a full week rest before hosting Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday, May 21, after eliminating the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games on May 15.