Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Knicks injuries: OG Anunoby and Josh Hart will play in Game 7 vs. Pacers

New York Knicks wings OG Anunoby and Josh Hart will play in Game 7 against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, and both players are in the starting lineup. Anunoby, dealing with a hamstring strain, has not played since Game 2 of the series. Hart, meanwhile, hurt his abdomen in Friday’s Game 6. He’s averaged 42.6 minutes per game in the playoffs.

This is encouraging news for the Knicks, who are trying to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2000. 

Hart spoke with reporters, including CBS Sports’ James Herbert, about an hour before tip-off and said he wanted to give it a go as long as he felt OK after warming up.

“This is Game 7 in the Garden,” Hart said.

Anunoby, whom the Knicks acquired in a midseason trade with the Toronto Raptors, has been one of the most important members of the Knicks roster since his acquisition. In the regular season, New York went 20-3 with him in the lineup, and they are 6-2 with him on the floor this postseason. He was averaging 16.4 points per game on just below 50% shooting from the floor and 40% from 3-point range this postseason.

Anunoby’s real value, though, comes on the defensive end of the floor. He is among the best wing defenders in the NBA, and he was the primary matchup on former teammates Pascal Siakam in Games 1 and 2. He thrived in that matchup, holding Siakam below 20 points in both games. Since he’s been out, Siakam is averaging 21.8 points on 57.6% shooting from the field.

Hart has been a mainstay on the floor for the Knicks in the playoffs. He’s averaged 14.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in 12 playoff games so far.

If the Knicks had been healthier otherwise, they might have been able to better survive these absence. Their depth has simply been depleted by other injuries. Julius Randle, Bojan Bogdanovic and Mitchell Robinson are all out for the series. Jalen Brunson has a sore foot from earlier in this series. The Knicks are simply running out of warm bodies.

Now, they’ll be . There is no telling how much Anunoby will be able to give on an injured hamstring, but just having him in the lineup is a huge win for a Knicks team that is currently being held together with duct tape.

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