Should the Knicks start limiting Josh Hart’s minutes?

May 8, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) celebrates in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers during game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks forward Josh Hart is in the midst of one of the most unique playoff runs in recent memory. The former Villanova product has been very impactful for the Knicks, and has been asked to do a lot due to the sheer amount of injuries the Knicks have suffered.

Josh Hart has been a playoff riser in this year’s postseason

May 6, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) controls the ball against New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) during the fourth quarter of game one of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
May 6, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) controls the ball against New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) during the fourth quarter of game one of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Hart has elevated his play in the postseason, averaging 18.0 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game. Additionally, Hart is knocking down his three-pointers at an exceptional rate of 44%. His play has been a major catalyst that has fueled a ferocious Knicks playoff run, one that has New York just two wins away from the Eastern Conference Finals.

Hart is making history with the absurd amount of minutes he has played

Apr 22, 2024; New York, New York, USA;  New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) reacts after basket against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half during game two of the first round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) reacts after basket against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half during game two of the first round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Hart’s recent play has been so good, that head coach Tom Thibodeau refuses to take him out of games. In eight playoff games, Hart has sat for 15 minutes combined and has played all 48 minutes four times in those eight games. According to Basketball Reference, his 374 minutes played are the most by any player through the first eight games of a postseason since 1977.

Over the Knicks’ last five games, Hart is averaging 48.2 minutes per game, with the only game going to overtime being Game 5 of the first-round matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers. Hart is also the first player since Jimmy Butler in 2013 to play two consecutive playoff games without subbing out.

Hart credits his faith for allowing him to play all 48 minutes

After Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Wednesday, a game in which Hart played all 48 minutes, the forward credited his faith for giving him the strength to pull off the feat.

“My Lord works in mysterious ways. Today I feel like I didn’t have it at all. I was reciting Isaiah [40:31] – the weak He renews strength,” said Hart.

Knicks injuries may mean more minutes for Hart

May 2, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) looks on from the bench during a timeout in the first half against the Philadelphia 76ers in game six of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
May 2, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) looks on from the bench during a timeout in the first half against the Philadelphia 76ers in game six of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Hart could be in for another long game in Game 3 tonight vs the Indiana Pacers. F OG Anunoby suffered a hamstring injury in Game 2 and has already been ruled out for Game 3 and is unlikely for Game 4. The Knicks are already without F Julius Randle (shoulder), F Bojan Bogdanovic (wrist, ankle), and C Mitchell Robinson (ankle) for the remainder of the playoffs, so Hart may have no choice but to continue logging big minutes, so long as his own health permits.

“Thibs always asks me if I need [a break], and I always tell him no. It’s something I want to do,” said Hart when asked if he expects to play all 48 minutes in games.

Hart and the Knicks will look to take a 3-0 series lead over the Pacers tonight in Game 3. A win tonight will move New York closer to putting the Pacers in the rear-view mirror for good, however, the Knicks may need another marathon game from Hart in order to survive without OG Anunoby.

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