Knicks' Thibodeau continues to prove that his philosophy can win
New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau coaches against the Indiana Pacers during the third quarter of Game 1 of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks HC Tom Thibodeau continues to prove that his philosophy can win

The New York Knicks have been on a hellacious run this season and that has carried over to the playoffs. 

On Monday, the Knicks beat the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, 121-117. Through all of it, New York head coach, Tom Thibodeau has continued to do it his way, despite criticism.

One constant that has followed coach Thibodeau during his career is the idea that he runs players into the ground. Things have been no different with this Knicks team during his tenure as Thibodeau is constantly bashed for his old-school approach in playing his guys 40-plus minutes. 

“It’s always funny because you see especially now during the playoffs, everybody is playing 40 minutes. Some people can’t do it. Some people go from 34 to 41 and they don’t have the energy," Josh Hart said on Thibodeau’s philosophy.

Obviously, Hart doesn’t mind the heavy minutes and that was evident in Game 1 against the Pacers since he never left the court. Thibodeau played Hart in all 48 minutes of New York’s victory and Hart repaid that confidence by scoring 24 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. 

But Hart wasn’t the only Knick to play nearly the entire game. Four of the team’s five starters were on the court for at least 42 minutes, helping the Knicks to a 1-0 series lead. 

Jalen Brunson led the team with 43 points in 44 minutes. Donte DiVincenzo (who scored 25 points) and OG Anunoby were also part of the 40-minute club on Monday night. 

Playing under Thibodeau that’s something players have to get used to. In the playoffs thus far, Hart, Brunson and Anunoby rank in the top four among most minutes played in the Eastern Conference. 

Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers is second on that list but with his team being eliminated, New York’s trio should top it by the end of the Pacers series.

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