Josh Hart doesn’t forget. There was a lot of chatter entering Tuesday night’s New York Knicks-Cavaliers matchup, with Cleveland citing the playoff loss as added motivation. It wasn’t a strategy that worked out for a battered Cavaliers squad that lost their third straight game, 109-91.
New York is 8-2 in games played against Cleveland since the Donovan Mitchell trade, and the Knicks got the last laugh back in April. Hart was the one who got the last laugh this go-round, but this time, Tristan Thompson was the victim.
Hart is one of the best rebounding guards in the NBA. Numbers don’t lie. In his playoff debut last season, he averaged 7.4 boards in 11 games and was a big part of why the Knicks eliminated the Cavaliers.
Thompson wasn’t in Cleveland last season, but he signed a one-year deal with the organization in September. He’s new to the budding Knicks-Cavaliers rivalry (that actually hasn’t been much of a rivalry), but he managed to leave his mark before tip-off on Tuesday.
On Monday, the 32-year-old and Hart were compared to one another rebounding-wise, and Thompson took offense to it. He referred to himself as a “filet” and to Hart as a “sirloin steak.”
In true Josh Hart fashion, the beloved Knick responded perfectly to Thompson’s skepticism after the win.
Josh Hart flames Tristan Thompson after Knicks’ 109-91 win over Cavaliers
With Jarrett Allen out, Tristan Thompson played 19 minutes and recorded only two rebounds, less than Evan Mobley (12), Isaac Okoro (7), Emoni Bates (6), Craig Porter (4), Georges Niang (3), Dean Wade (3), Donovan Mitchell (3), and Max Strus (3).
How did Josh Hart do? He pulled down seven rebounds, more than three times as many as Thompson. Sure, Thompson isn’t the player he was in his first nine years in Cleveland, but he can’t say something like that without backing it up.
Allen’s dealing with an ankle injury, and with New York and Cleveland playing again on Wednesday, Thompson will likely play heavy minutes (for him, at least).
What version of Josh Hart will show up? Hopefully, the sirloin steak one!