New York Knicks backup power forward Josh Hart minced no words with the beef Tristan Thompson started.
“You always see it, man. We don’t really care. That’s for them, man. If they wanna have that chip on their shoulder, that’s good for them. We don’t really care. We’re just sirloin steaks,” Hart said vis New York Daily News’ Kristian Winfield after helping the Knicks to a 109-91 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday night.
Hart outrebounded Thompson 7-2 after the Cavaliers backup was miffed when a reporter compared him to the Knicks’ wing-turned-undersized-frontcourt-player.
“Me and Josh Hart similarities with offensive rebounding? You should’ve used Pat Beverly as a comparison,” Thompson said a day before the game via New York Post’s Stefan Bondy. “Me and Josh Hart-rebounding wise? No. That’s like a filet and a sirloin steak.”
That was enough to light up the fire under the Knicks’ belly.
Five Knicks finished in double figures led by Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle’s 19 points apiece. RJ Barrett, the Knicks leading scorer in their first three games, added 16.
The Cavaliers, who talked about aching for payback after the Knicks booted them out in the playoffs, came short-handed and went away empty-handed.
Jarrett Allen (ankle bone bruise), Ty Jerome (ankle sprain), Caris LeVert (hamstring) and Darius Garland (hamstring) all missed the rematch of the lopsided first-round playoff matchup that easily won by the Knicks in five games.
The Knicks took advantage and pounced on them again.
It is unclear as of posting time if all four Cavaliers will miss their second meeting in as many nights Wednesday in New York.
Julius Randle’s Bounce-Back Game
Randle redeemed himself after committing eight turnovers in their road loss in New Orleans over the weekend.
The two-time All-Star forward only had one turnover against the Cavaliers while producing a double-double (19 points and 10 rebounds). He added two assists and one steal.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau defended him after their 96-87 loss to the Pelicans.
“It’s easier to think it’s Julius, but everyone has to work together,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said via New York Post. “If the outlets aren’t there, you’re a step behind, you’re a step slow. He needs to have three outlets when he’s being double-teamed. So, that’s something we can do better.”
A well-rested Randle and the Knicks came up with a better overall effort leading to their second win in four starts.
Donovan Mitchell Is Not a ‘Singular Force’
Donovan Mitchell led the Cavaliers with 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting. But without much help, the shorthanded Cavaliers were no match for the Knicks.
It gave credence to former Knicks general manager Scott Perry’s revelation on their evaluation of Mitchell’s game which led to the All-star guard ending up in Cleveland instead of his hometown New York.
“We felt that [Mitchell] was a good player, but he needed more around him to win because if he was that singular force, Utah probably would have been in the conference finals,” Perry said in the Hoop Genius podcast. “If he was that singular force, but he wasn’t that singular for his game. And that’s not a criticism. That’s just an evaluation that you must make. And those are the tough evaluations.”