Knicks vs. Heat Notes: Success against Miami's zone; Isaiah Hartenstein's rebounding

Josh Hart
Josh Hart / Brad Penner - USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have played zone defense for significant stretches of their series against the Knicks so far.

New York struggled against the Miami zone in Game 1 and for parts of Game 2. But something changed late Tuesday night.

"At the end of the game, we started to figure it out more," Isaiah Hartenstein said after the Knicks' Game 2 win. "Just screen, flipping the screens. The way they were switching, they were switching the back guard (of the 1-1-3 zone) on top to Jalen, so find different ways to screen to get Jalen open.

"That’s a thing we definitely have to do against a zone is move the ball. Before we were a little bit stagnant against that."

The Knicks had success late in Game 2 against the Heat’s zone approach. They shot 53 percent in the fourth quarter, which included making four of nine three-point attempts. Josh Hart hit two key 3-pointers in the quarter as Miami seemed content with leaving him unguarded in the corner.

As’s John Schuhmann points out, New York had its most productive offensive game of the postseason in Game 2. Yahoo’s Dan Devine notes that the Knicks shot 10-for-22 on 3-point attempts against the Heat zone in Game 2.

"I love when they play me in that way. I’m able to really play my game, that’s getting to the paint and just have fun, play carefree basketball," Hart said after scoring 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to go along with 11 rebounds and nine assists. "Obviously there are going to be times when I turn down some shots, times when I shoot it. But with that I’m able to play the style of basketball that I want to play."


Hart also got a huge offensive rebound in the fourth quarter, corralling his own missed 3-point attempt. The extra effort ended with two free throws from Julius Randle to put New York up six with 1:02 to play.

That was one of four offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter from New York. Hartenstein had three of them.

"I just try to do whatever the team needs," Hartenstein said after Game 2. "A lot of guys in the NBA can do a lot more. But you just have to find your niche in the NBA. My niche on the team is just playing hard, making smart plays. And having guys out there like Josh and Julius makes my rebounding easier."

The Knicks outrebounded the Heat on the offensive end, 11-8. They led in overall rebounds, 50-34.

The Knicks didn’t have these rebounding advantages in Game 1. Why? Maybe because they didn’t have Randle to help clean up.

"It’s hard when you got Julius, Josh, me or Mitch (Mitchell Robinson) in the game," Hartenstein said. "It’s hard to box out in those situations. Having Julius back was great."