New York Daily News
Jalen should be set for Rockets
Jalen Brunson’s wrist injury may turn into just a one-game absence. The point guard went through the entirety of practice, according to the Knicks, who didn’t allow reporters to observe any parts of Sunday’s session or speak with Brunson.
He’s officially listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Rockets.
“I’m not sure if (he had any tests done). It’s a sprain,” Tom Thibodeau said. “He did everything at practice.”
Brunson sat Thursday’s loss to the Magic with the wrist injury, and a Newsday reporter noticed a hard plastic brace around his right hand. It was the sixth game Brunson missed over the last 10, with the previous DNPs occurring because of a nagging foot pain.
The Knicks (42-33) are 5-5 overall this season without their starting point guard. Asked if Brunson is hampered at all, Thibodeau offered a succinct observation of Sunday’s practice.
“He did everything,” the coach said.
The Knicks are approaching the pressure-filled portion of their schedule with 10 games remaining and two teams on their heels. They’re currently sixth in the East — now probably too far to catch the No. 5 Cavs — but only two games up in the win column over the No. 6 Nets and No. 7 Heat.
Falling to seventh and the play-in tournament would be a terrible outcome for the Knicks. The good news, beyond Brunson’s availability in practice, is that they’ve come up for air after a grueling stretch.
The three days off before tonight’s game followed seven road games — and nine games overall — over 15 days. Plus, the Rockets (1856) are one of the league’s worst teams.
“Much needed break,” RJ Barrett said. “Much needed, for sure. It’s great to come in today with lots of energy, it was great.”
After the Rockets, the Knicks face the Heat on Wednesday and the Cavs on Friday. It’s crunch time.
“Very important,” Barrett said. “Everybody is fighting for something — and I look at it as a good thing that we get to go head-to-head with those teams we’re competing with. That’s why I think this next stretch is going to be good for us, it’s going to be a test.”
RANDLE A NO-SHOW AT MEDIA
Here we go again.
As things were spiraling last season (remember the thumbs-down gesture?), Julius Randle and the Knicks boycotted his media appearances and the team was fined $25,000.
Now, with Randle again receiving heat for blowing up at referees and a teammate, the Knicks didn’t make their All-Star available two straight times — following Thursday’s loss to Orlando, according to reporters on the scene, then after Sunday’s practice.
Instead, the Knicks presented Immanuel Quickley as a speaker Sunday. Quickley was the teammate who tried to calm down Randle in Orlando, and he was angrily shouted down.
Thibodeau again redirected a question about Randle to a team-wide generality.
“Come in, be ready to go, be fresh to go. Bring energy. Seventy-five games, there’s a lot of things,” Thibodeau said. “We’re shorthanded right now. And so when you’re shorthanded, you got to play hard, you got to play really, really well.”
Barrett was understanding of the frustration from Randle, who has technical fouls in three consecutive games.
“I think we all get angry. We’re all human,” Barrett said. “He’s competing. People may have seen a video or whatever, but we all feel like that. Because we compete to win. His competitive spirit is something that also makes him really good. As a team, we understand things happen.”