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ESPN Analyst Defends Knicks Rotation Decision

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The New York Knicks looked gassed in their 121-89 loss on Sunday to the Indiana Pacers, which evened the Eastern Conference Semifinals at 2-2.

The Knicks have run the tightest rotations during the playoffs, usually playing seven players legitimate minutes. In Game 1 of the series, each starter played 36 minutes or more. In Game 2, each starter played at least 32 minutes. Josh Hart has played all 48 minutes on multiple occasions, but that all seemed to catch up with the Knicks when they went down early in Game 4 and couldn’t recover.

But ESPN’s Monica McNutt doesn’t believe that is the reason behind the Knicks’ struggles in Indianapolis.

“None of the guys that are playing minutes are complaining about their minutes,” McNutt said. “Isaiah Hartenstein finna get paid. Josh Hart is built to play basketball, Jalen Brunson loves to play basketball, the same of Donte DiVincenzo.”

The team also has suffered with OG Anunoby on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, and he was absent in both of the Knicks’ losses against the Pacers, but McNutt sees no problem with his usage.

“I think his [injury] history comes into play, and yes, he had been over a four-game stretch where he had played the most minutes I think we’ve seen to this point in his career. But also, that was a little bit of a freak injury, and I have a hard time with overuse for a guy that had missed a month down the stretch of the regular season after he got traded. It’s the playoffs. You play. And when he’s on the floor, this team has won,” McNutt said.

Having Anunoby back will certainly help with the team’s defense, but there’s a chance he may not be ready to return for Tuesday’s Game 5. Either way, with or without him, coach Tom Thibodeau likely won’t change his tight rotations and the minutes will continue to rise. But for those playing, it simply comes down to execution.

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