Knicks encouraged by Hartenstein’s Return, Achiuwa’s strong outing in win over Heat

Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson (55) dribbles against New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) and center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) during the first half at Madison Square Garden
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks were able to get back at the Miami Heat in a resounding 125-109 win at home last Saturday night.

Even more encouraging than the win itself was having breakout center Isaiah Hartenstein back in the lineup after a brief three-game absence due to an Achilles injury, Also, backup center Precious Achiuwa controlled the glass with 10 rebounds on the night.

Per Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau liked the way Achiuwa performed, and Hartenstein doubled down on that by saying this about Achiuwa holding down the middle against All-NBA center Bam Adebayo:

“Precious did a great job today,” Hartenstein said. “The way he defended and brought energy, that was great and that’s what we needed.” 

Knicks Got Strong Play from Precious Achiuwa on Both Ends of the Floor vs. Heat

Achiuwa was everywhere on the glass and helped hold Adebayo to a mere 12 points on the affair.

Achiuwa has upped his play since coming to New York. The 24-year-old center has three double-digit rebounding performances in 14 games with the Knicks which is more than he did in 25 outings with the Raptors, putting up two in that span.

Hartenstein Kept Up Activity on the Glass Though Knicks HC Aims to Bring Him Back Gradually

As for Hartenstein, he was able to corral six rebounds in 16 minutes, which kept up his torrid pace seen since taking over for Mitchell Robinson once the latter went down with an ankle injury back on December 8th.

As coach Thibodeau also noted, it’s expected that the Knicks will bring Hartenstein along slowly to avoid a second center being out on the shelf for an extended period of time. With the way Achiuwa is performing, the Knicks have the luxury of allowing Hartenstein to work his way back to 100 percent with time.

The Knicks are 12-2 in their last 14 games and will look to continue building momentum while the front office searches for more talent ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline.

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