East Notes: Knicks, Josh Hart, Celtics, Jaylen Brown, Hawks


The Knicks have improved to 20-9 since trading for swingman Josh Hart back in February — including their 3-1 playoff series lead over the Cavaliers.

“It’s just one tough play after the next,” coach Tom Thibodeau said of Hart, via Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “Big shot, big offensive rebounds, great defense. He’s just a winner.”

  • While the Knicks have a significant advantage, guard Jalen Brunson said it’s important that the Knicks stay focused. “It’s not over. Not even close to being over,” Brunson said, via Braziller. “There’s nothing to celebrate, there’s nothing to be truly happy about. Obviously, we won [today], we’re one step closer, but we got to continue to have the same mindset and mentality that we have had the past couple of games.”
  • Guard/forward RJ Barrett added that it’s all been about the Knicks’ effort. “I feel we’re playing extremely hard, making hustle plays,” Barrett said, via Braziller. “The whole team, all the hustle plays we’re making, we’re really together collectively.”


Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum each scored 31 as the Celtics put the Hawks on the brink of elimination with a 129-121 win on Sunday.

But perhaps the biggest story was how Brown ditched his protective face mask during the game — scoring 22 points in the second half.

“After the timeout, we were looking for Jaylen and couldn’t find him because he didn’t have his mask on, and then, I was like, ‘Where’s he at?'” guard Marcus Smart said, via Bobby Krivitsky of Sports Illustrated.

Brown suggested the mask was starting to serve as a hindrance.

“Maybe it was all in my head. I just needed something different,” he said, via Krivitsky. “When I took it off, it just gave me the edge I needed.”


  • The NBA is investigating an incident where guard Dejounte Murray appeared to make contact with referee Gediminas Petraitis as Murray walked off the court at the end of the Hawks’ loss to the Celtics, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
  • Guard Trae Young told reporter the Hawks could never catch up after the Celtics got going right at the start. “They came out with a sense of urgency, and it showed,” Young said. “They’re a really good team. They’re here for a reason.”
  • Forward John Collins finished with just five points on 1-of-9 shooting in Game 4. The Celtics now have a chance to close out the series at home.

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