Jalen Brunson puts Knicks losing trouble on team, not Tom Thibodeau

Don’t put the Knicks’ last loss, or their disappointing 10-13 record, on coach Tom Thibodeau.

Jalen Brunson thinks that would be misplaced blame.

“It’s on us. We’re the players that don’t fight,” Brunson said after the Knicks’ fourth straight Garden loss, 121-100, to the Mavericks on Saturday afternoon. « It’s his job to put us in [the right] positions, which he did.

Jalen Brunson says Knicks players should take responsibility for their downfall at home.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

If the team’s struggles continue, Thibodeau’s job security will inevitably become a talking point. The Knicks won just 37 games last year and were supposed to be bettered. Although they played well on the road, going 6-6, they couldn’t beat anyone of note at home, falling to 4-7 at the Garden after that latest loss.

« Coach Thibs did a great job, » Brunson said. “He knew how to place us in positions where we must succeed. I think he knows where to put those puzzle pieces. It’s just up to us to actually execute.

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau calls from the bench against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half at Madison Square Garden on November 30, 2022 in New York City.
Tom Thibodeau is currently trying to put together a winning strategy for the Knicks as the season kicks into full gear.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Brunson didn’t have much fun against his former team, managing just 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting, along with three assists and three turnovers. But he was happy to see the Mavericks. Before the game, Dallas coach Jason Kidd said the team missed Brunson on and off the field.

« When things aren’t going well, he’s someone who always had a soothing voice, about being positive and trying to help you out of a slump, » Kidd said.

Brunson shared a story of when they first spoke after Kidd took over as coach in June 2021.

« I think the relationship I have with J-Kidd is very unique, » Brunson said. “The first thing he said to me when I met him — he said, ‘What do you want to achieve?’ I told him that I wanted to contribute as best I could, yada yada yada. He said, ‘No, we have to make you pay.’ That’s what he said, his first thing. I mean, he did that.

Brunson signed a four-year, $104 million contract in the offseason to join the Knicks after spending the first four years of his career with the Mavericks.

Brunson and Mavericks star Luka Doncic had bet on the Cowboys-Eagles opener, which was won by the Eagles. Doncic, a Cowboys fan, had to wear an Eagles jersey to the Garden on Saturday with “JB Son” on the back. Brunson is a huge Eagles fan.

« No, it wasn’t [fun]said Doncic, before adding: « We have another game coming up and we’re playing at home so we’ll have another bet and they’re coming soon so we’ll see.

The Cowboys host the Eagles on Christmas Eve and the Knicks travel to Dallas three days later. Stay tuned.

Ryan Arcidiacono (sprained left ankle) remained out for the Knicks.


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