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Jalen Brunson questionable for Knicks vs. Grizzlies game


Jalen Brunson has already become the Knicks’ most indispensable player, making his suddenly uncertain status – even in the short term – a potential concern.

The $104 million point guard did not practice on Saturday and was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Ja Morant and the Grizzlies at the Garden with what the Knicks call a right quad contusion suffered Friday in the fourth quarter of their overtime loss. to the Trail Blazers.

“We’ll see where he is [on Sunday]Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said of Brunson after practice at Tarrytown. “I think he’s been so huge for us, just because of so many different qualities he has.”

Brunson, who missed a potential jumper in the final seconds of regulation Friday, leads the Knicks with 21.8 points and 6.5 assists per game in their 9-10 start.

Jalen Brunson is questionable for the Knicks’ game against the Grizzlies on Sunday.

“Leadership, I think point guard is a leadership position, and it helps you manage and control the team,” added Thibodeau. “I think Jalen is so team-oriented, I think it makes your team play selflessly. I think we score a lot of points, and he gives us an attack, a rhythm of play, downhill, the guys are playing against each other.

“And if you move and you’re open on a cut, he’s going to hit you. He wants to get the ball up fast and when we do that I think it provides a lot of easy scoring opportunities for everyone.

Veteran substitute Derrick Rose is also still questionable after missing the last two games with a toe injury. The Knicks would be reduced to a combination of Immanuel Quickley and Miles McBride to the point if Rose and Brunson couldn’t play. Thibodeau said the 34-year-old Rose looked “better” on Saturday and participated in “most of what we did” in practice.

McBride has averaged 5.3 points in 14.7 minutes while shooting 7 for 15 from the floor in his last three appearances since Rose was injured in Phoenix last Sunday. The second-year guard had clocked just 13 minutes in the Knicks’ first 16 games, but Thibodeau said he’s comfortable if McBride has to play an expanded role on Sunday.

“Just his preparation and defensive mindset. He worked very hard, he trains very well all the time, so it gives us confidence that he will play well when he gets the chance,” said Thibodeau. “And Quick, he’s going to have a major role, obviously. If he’s in there with Deuce, they’re interchangeable, both guys can direct him. Same thing when Derrick and Quick are together, they’re basically interchangeable.

Of course, the challenge for the point guards available on Sunday will be defending against Morant, the All-Star ball handler who is averaging 28.6 points and 7.3 assists in his fourth NBA campaign for the Grizzlies (11- 8).

Jalen Brunson, right, suffered a right quadrangle contusion Friday night against the TrailBlazers.
Jalen Brunson, right, suffered a right quadrangle contusion Friday night against the Trail Blazers.

“With the speed of the game, obviously that’s a special talent,” Thibodeau said. “He’s an MVP-type player, but his speed is something a player like that, you’re not going to keep him individually. You have to keep him with your team.

“They are selfless and they play extremely well with each other. So it will take a big effort for 48 minutes.

The Knicks went 3-2 on their recent road trip against several top Western Conference clubs, but after opening the season 3-0 at home, they’ve lost four of their last five games at the Garden. The lone win in that streak came against the worst-performing Pistons in the Eastern Conference on Nov. 11, with home losses to the Hawks, Celtics, Thunder and Trail Blazers.

“I feel like we have to play with a different energy, a different level of intensity when we’re at home,” forward Obi Toppin said. “We have the crowd, we have everyone on our backs, it’s just that we have to be focused and we have to be ready to play.

“I felt like we had to start dealing with that now because we’ve lost a few at home now. We know home is a priority and we have to win these games. We’ll sort that out. , It’s certain.


New York Post

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