Blazers Coach Chauncey Billups Issues Statement on Knicks Wing Josh Hart

Josh Hart, New York Knicks

Getty Josh Hart of the New York Knicks drives against the Charlotte Hornets.

The New York Knicks downed the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night to push themselves above 40 wins for just the second time since 2012-13 and, subsequently, moved on up to the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference standings.

Despite being down early and often through the first half of play, Tom Thibodeau’s club was able to claw their way back during the final two periods of regulation to claim their second straight victory on the road.

In his first game back to Moda Center after having been shipped off to the Knicks prior to the trade deadline, veteran wing Josh Hart paved the way for the club’s second-half comeback with exceptional efforts on both ends of the floor.

His contributions netted him the highest plus-minus rating of either team during the last two-quarters of action with a +21 rating.

Following the contest, Blazers coach Chauncey Billups couldn’t help but dish out a rather complementary statement directed at his former player regarding his performance on the night.

VideoVideo related to blazers coach chauncey billups issues statement on knicks wing josh hart2023-03-15T12:21:56-04:00

“Josh played great, man. He played great. I mean, there were several times that he had those types of nights for us, so we wasn’t surprised at all about what Josh did. He’s playing very well over there, you know, and, aside for when he’s playing against us, we’re all very happy to see him balling the way that he is. But yea, that was no surprise to us at all,” Billups said.

Logging a team-high 37 minutes played, Hart finished the outing with a near triple-double of 16 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals on a highly efficient 46.2% shooting from the floor and 40.0% shooting from deep.

Hart Sounds Off on Knicks Energy

Josh Hart may have been a driving force in the Knicks’ latest outing, but even he understands that, in this league, it takes an entire team to properly function.

When speaking to reporters during the night’s post-game media session about the state of the team as they inch closer to the playoffs, the veteran wing discussed how impressed he is about their overall trajectory, and expressed excitement about finally being in a position to be “playing for something” beyond the regular season.

“It’s great,” Hart said, “I think this team was trending upwards when I got here, and I was able to just fit right in and continue to help this team grow…I’m in a new position right now, where I’m sitting here and we’re really playing for something. I haven’t really been in that position before in my career, and I think that’s just making myself even more hungry, and the rest of the guys in the locker room.”

VideoVideo related to blazers coach chauncey billups issues statement on knicks wing josh hart2023-03-15T12:21:56-04:00

Since Josh Hart first suited up for the franchise back on February 10, the Knicks have gone 11-3, the third-best mark in the association over this stretch.

Mitchell Robinson Throws Shade at Knicks Role

While a two-game winning streak is certainly a positive situation for a team to find itself in, not all members of the Knicks seem to be elated.

In a recent post on his personal Snapchat account, starting center Mitchell Robinson voiced his frustrations regarding his current role in New York, writing that he’s “tired” of the way he’s currently being used within head coach Tom Thibodeau’s scheme.

This statement comes just days after the big man issued a subliminal message on Twitter that had several fans questioning the reasoning. When asked what was wrong, Robinson simply responded with “You’ll see.”

Since returning to the lineup following a 14-game absence due to injury, the 24-year-old has found himself sporting per-game averages of 8.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks on 72.9% shooting from the field.

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