Knicks’ Isaiah Hartenstein has great defensive game in victory over Cavs

Isaiah Hartenstein, knicks
Jan 24, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley (4) and New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) play for the rebound in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks backup center Isaiah Hartenstein put in arguably his most impressive performance as a Knick on Tuesday, helping lead them to a huge 105-103 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Hartenstein filled the stat sheet on Tuesday, recording four points, nine rebounds, four assists, one block, and one steal off the bench in the victory, with his clutch stop underneath the rim in the final seconds of regulation being the main highlight of his night.

Isaiah Hartenstein was brilliant on the defensive end:

With Mitchell Robinson out for the next few weeks with a thumb injury, the Knicks have desperately been trying to figure out how to fill in the void left by him.

They have not gotten much protection over the past few games since he went down, but Hartenstein brought some very solid rim protection on Tuesday.

Third-string center Jericho Sims was given the start for Tuesday’s game, but he struggled throughout most of the game, having issues with guarding the pick-and-roll and falling for pump fakes under the rim several times, which led to easy Cavalier points.

Therefore, Hartenstein saw the floor much more than he has of late, and he did exactly what the Knicks needed. Defenders shot just 2-5 from the floor, with him guarding the shot. He blocked off drives to the basket and was quick to help, secured huge rebounds, and committed just one personal foul all night, overall playing his position almost perfectly.

Hartenstein was asked about his defensive prowess after Tuesday’s game and also held himself accountable for his lackluster play prior to Tuesday’s contest.

“It’s kind of what I came here for,” Hartenstein said. “I know myself. I’m not playing as good as I’m supposed to be playing. I’m kind of letting the fans down, the city down a little bit. But I’m just going to keep getting better because I know I can do it.”

Isaiah Hartenstein via Fred Katz of The Athletic

Hartenstein will look to continue to play exceptionally on defense when they face the best team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics, on Thursday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_

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