Isaiah Hartenstein gives silver lining to Knicks' tough loss to Sixers

Isaiah Hartenstein has been dealing with a sore Achilles.

New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein
New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The New York Knicks' 79-73 loss to the Sixers on Sunday had too many forgettable moments. The Knicks had a chance to pick up their second straight win against a Philadelphia team without Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, but New York couldn't deliver.

It was an ugly game on both sides. Buddy Hield was the Sixers' leading scorer off the bench with 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from three. Jalen Brunson was the Knicks' leading scorer with 19 points, but it was an off night for the point guard. He shot 6-of-22 from the field and 1-of-9 from deep, but he did have eight assists. After the game, Brunson said he "played like dog****."

Fans put the game in the rearview mirror as soon as the buzzer sounded (maybe even before then), but there was one plus from it, courtesy of Isaiah Hartenstein. The center has been battling a sore Achilles that has sidelined him for a few games. In his postgame interview, Hartenstein said, "I'm feeling good. I think the last two games kind of really showed that I'm back to myself."

Isaiah Hartenstein says he's "feeling good" after dealing with sore Achilles

In the 32 games he's started this season (and counting), Hartenstein's averaging 7.4 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per contest. He's filled in beautifully for an injured Mitchell Robinson, who is expected to return before the end of the season. A healthy Hartenstein and Robinson in the playoffs will be tough to contain, so it's reassuring that I-Hart finally feels like himself.

Hartenstein is one of several Knicks who have embraced the next man-up mentality. He's set himself up for a nice payday in free agency this summer. The 25-year-old has hopped around the league since being drafted in 2017, but his time in New York has proven he's worthy of being a starter.

With the playoffs a little over a month away, Hartenstein can up his value even more. Just be sure not to play too well so you won't price yourself out of New York's range, I-Hart!

Next. 20 People who turned their backs on the Knicks. 20 People who turned their backs on the Knicks. dark