Knicks’ Evan Fournier gets his first minutes in weeks
SAN ANTONIO — Jalen Brunson practiced with a coach on the field and fired some pregame shots Thursday night, but the $104 million point guard missed his second straight game for the Knicks on that Texas swing with a sore right hip.
With Brunson and fellow starter RJ Barrett (slashed finger) sidelined, Miles McBride, who played a career-high 46 minutes off the bench in Monday’s overtime loss to Dallas, got his first start in the season.
McBride didn’t make much of an impact, shooting 3-8 from the field in the Knicks’ 122-115 loss.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game that he was considering expanding the rotation of the eight players who basically played in Dallas, with Barrett leaving the floor less than two minutes into the first quarter.
After Derrick Rose returned to the rotation with a 12-minute stint against the Mavericks, it was Evan Fournier’s turn to see his first minutes in weeks, although Cam Reddish remained glued to the bench.
In his first action since November 13, Fournier played 17 minutes, scoring 11 points on a 4-for-6 shot.
“I just tried to stay present all this time. It was a lot easier to play than to sit on the bench and watch the guys play,” Fournier said. « Basically the way I treated him when I was benched the first time was just to stay ready. … Today I felt like I had to be ready, just at the case where.
Rose had taken the same approach.
« For the past two years and because of my injuries, I always have to be ready, » Rose said before the game. “Each year presents something different. This year it’s similar to what I’ve done in the past, but at the same time it’s a bit similar, but I have to understand things better when I get on the pitch.
Rose said he also tried to find the balance between mentoring young players such as McBride and recent starter Quentin Grimes and letting them figure things out on the pitch.
“When you’re put in a position like that, everyone talks to you. You have the assistant, the head coach, you have the strangers, your agent, your family members, your friends, everyone talks to them,” Rose said. « Q, he’s started, what, the last two games? Deuce, I think he’s going to start tonight.
“So I don’t want to overload them with too much information. But the things I see in games, I go up and tell them during the game. But never when we’re not on the pitch, because they’re with a coach or they’re obsessed with things themselves.
Shooter Devin Vassell, Spurs’ second leading scorer with 19.6 points per game, suffered a left knee injury.