In the second round of this year’s NBA Playoffs, no series seems more tightly contested than the Eastern Conference battle between the Knicks and the Heat. This series has been incredibly physical and has the feel of a throwback matchup. We’ll be keying in on a crucial contributor off the bench for one of our favorite NBA Props for Saturday afternoon.
The New York Knicks are aiming to take a 2-1 lead over the Heat in Miami today — tipoff is at 3:30 ET. New York is a 4-point underdog today, as they hope to steal a road game over the next few days and avoid a 3-1 series deficit.
New York’s 1-2 punch at the center position has been vital to their success, as Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein create a significant advantage on the glass for the Knicks. Hartenstein was excellent in Tuesday’s Game 2 win and played his way into the team’s closing lineup. He should remain involved against Bam Adebayo and down low this afternoon.
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NBA Props for Saturday (5/6)
Isaiah Hartenstein Over 4.5 Rebounds (-110 @ BetMGM)
Isaiah Hartenstein enjoyed a career year as a rebounder this season. During the summer of 2022, the Knicks signed him to a 2-year, 16-million dollar contract. And, he’s been worth every penny.
Mitchell Robinson also had a tremendous season. But, the Robinson experience comes with several drawbacks. He’s injury prone and he’s one of the worst free-throw shooters in the league. These minor flaws opened up additional opportunities for Hartenstein, and he delivered.
The seven-footer averaged 6.5 rebounds per game this season, good for a new career-high. At 4.5, this line feels too low and I’m counting on Tom Thibodeau to split up the playing time between his two centers just enough for this over to hit.
Key Bench Role
Hartenstein played the final 8 minutes of Game 2, as he played a key role in New York’s late run to put the team over the top. He grabbed 4 rebounds in these 8 minutes alone.
He ultimately finished with 9 boards, hitting this over for the fifth time in seven postseason games.
Hartenstein has continued to be an outstanding replacement for Robinson off the bench. As great as Robinson is, it’s highly unlikely Thibodeau plays him 34 to 36 minutes this afternoon. So, we can pencil Isaiah in for somewhere between 14 and 24 minutes, which is all he needs to grab five boards.
The former Clippers big man has played between 14-24 minutes off the bench in 51 games this season. He finished with more than 4.5 rebounds in 39 of these 51 games, good for a 76.5% hit rate. He’s posted 6.1 RPG in these games, further indicating this line is a rebound sort.
iHart has been hit or miss against the Heat this season. However, he’s shown up in a big way in three of New York’s six matchups with the Heat. He finished with at least 9 rebounds in all three games where he saw at least 20 minutes of action against Miami this year.
Overall, he’s averaged 5.5 rebounds per 20 minutes against the Heat this season. And, I’m expecting right around 20 minutes of action for the big man today.
Among all players with at least 50 minutes played this postseason, Hartenstein is 8th in Offensive Rebounding Rate. The Knicks were second in the NBA in OREB% in the regular season. And, they’re first in OREB% this postseason. It will be crucial for New York to keep fresh legs on the floor at the center position to maintain this advantage.
Hartenstein is averaging 6.6 rebounds per 20 minutes this season and has a real shot to play himself into New York’s closing lineup again today. His rebounding is vitally important to the Knicks’ success on both ends of the floor. And, against an under-sized Heat team, nothing should stop him from grabbing some boards in Game 3.
Have fun playing our favorite NBA Props for Saturday afternoon and Join us for the rest of the NBA playoffs!