After failing to seal Game 5, Josh Hart's three helps Knicks advance to Eastern Conference semis

It was a tough 48 hours for Knicks forward Josh Hart.

On Tuesday, at Madison Square Garden for Game 5 of the Knicks-76ers series, Hart had a chance to put his team up by four points by making two free throws in the final seconds. Hart, a 79 percent free-throw shooter, made just one and allowed Tyrese Maxey to hit a three to force overtime in the Knicks’ eventual loss.

“That loss was on my shoulders,” Hart said after the game. “Had a day and a half to think about that. That’s all I thought about."

But with the game tied at 111 and 35 seconds remaining in Game 6, the ball wound up in Hart’s hands and he shot the three that sealed the game and pushed the Knicks into the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Hart explained that the play was to rotate who had the ball if Jalen Brunson was trapped. Once Brunson passed him the ball, Hart tried to swing it to Donte DiVincenzo but he was guarded, so he took the shot himself.

"It shows the unselfishness of JB to get the ball out of his hands when he got trapped, and Tae was knocking down shots, so they couldn’t leave him," Hart explained. "Feels good after I lost the game for us, I was able to help win the game for us.”

During the regular season, Hart shot a career-worst 31 percent from three. In the six-game series, Hart shot 43 percent, including the biggest one of the Knicks’ playoffs so far.

“Josh Hart made big times shots in Game 1, made big times shots in Game 6," Tyrese Maxey said after the game. "Got the ball out of Jalen Brunson’s hands and he hit the big one.”

He also came down with 14 rebounds (six offensive) and dished seven assists in his 46 minutes of play on Thursday night.

“He’s a player. He’s put a lot of time into his shooting. I don’t know what it is about him. There’s so many intangibles that he has that makes your team good,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said of Hart after the game. “I always have the belief that when it’s a big shot, it’s going in. He has that ability.

“You need an offensive rebounds he’s going to go through 4-5 people to get it. It’s a loose ball, he’s going to make something happen. He’s a fierce, fierce competitor. He has the ability to think on his feet and that’s a huge asset to our team.”

The Knicks will host the Indiana Pacers for Game 1 of their second-round series on Monday night.