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Knicks’ Josh Hart Blasts Tom Thibodeau Critics

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Josh Hart had an attack for those who continue to blame New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau’s supposedly excessive expectations of playing time for the team’s active woes.

With injuries eating away at the Knicks’ primary rotation, some have charged Thibodeau with overtaxing his top men like Hart and Jalen Brunson as a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals over the Indiana Pacers has become a knotted 2-2 tie after a brutal couple in Indianapolis. Hart disputed such charges, claiming that Thibodeau’s current set-up has rendered his New York tenure a de facto vacation compared to some of his other NBA stops.

Jan 23, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) talks to head coach Tom

Jan 23, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) talks to head coach Tom / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

“At the end of the day, seventh year of my career, I’ve probably had more off days than I’ve had in other (seasons),” Hart said, per Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News. “We don’t go contact in practice. Everyone thinks we do three-hour practices of scrimmaging. It’s idiotic to put on him.”

Hart has played four complete games this postseason, matching the New York Mets and Yankees’ starting pitchers combined over the last year-plus. He has been a mainstay in the starting lineup since three-time All-Star Julius Randle went down with a shoulder injury in late January, one that proved to be season-ending. Hart has been one of the Knicks’ major sparks, bringing in over a dozen rebounds per game, third among playoff participants.

Hart further believes that the charges against Thibodeau are part of preconceived narratives that gossipers are unwilling to part with. Many critics have often cited a players’ poll from The Athletic that labeled the fourth-year Knicks boss the coach they’d least like to play for.

“You expect ignorance when people have no idea what goes on in this building,” Hart said in Winfield’s report. “People love to have a narrative or a label and run with it. None of those guys are here watching us practice. None of those guys are watching what we do.”

Another hefty Hart workload awaits at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night when the Knicks and Pacers seek to undo the two-all tie in Game 5 (8 p.m. ET, TNT).

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