The Knicks had been with out Derrick Rose — and a pulse.
Ths pandemic season lastly crushed the Knicks on Tuesday and demonstrated how a participant can go from invisible to outstanding in an eye-blink.
Only a week in the past, Frank Ntilikina hadn’t performed since late December — felled by a knee sprain, COVID-19 protocols and being yanked from the rotation.
Tuesday in San Antonio, the Frenchman turned the Knicks’ start line guard and possibly for the foreseeable future.
Although Ntilikina held up his finish of the cut price with 13 factors, 5 of seven from the sector and three of three from 3-point vary, the undermanned Knicks couldn’t compete within the second half and their three-game profitable streak was snapped in an unpleasant 119-93 loss at AT&T Heart.
“You get what you deserve,’’ Tom Thibodeau mentioned. “It’s disappointing how we performed.’’
The Knicks regarded drained on the defensive finish and allowed the Spurs to drill 7 of 14 3-pointers within the third quarter to crush them 36-21 within the interval. That put them down 19 factors after three quarters, 81-62, they usually fell behind 27 within the fourth quarter. The Spurs completed with 17 3-pointers.
The Knicks, who fell again to .500 (18-18) on the season’s midpoint, discovered earlier than the sport their new start line guard, Rose, can be out indefinitely for well being and security COVID-19 protocols.
The Knicks wouldn’t say if Rose had examined constructive for COVID-19 or had encountered an individual with the virus.
That can doubtless imply Rose is out till after the All-Star break. The Knicks end the primary half Thursday in opposition to Detroit.
With Austin Rivers deep in Tom Thibodeau’s doghouse, Ntilikina was anointed the starter over rookie Immanuel Quickley.
“It’s situational,’’ Thibodeau mentioned of Rivers. “He’s bought to maintain working.’’
When pressed, Thibodeau mentioned Rivers additionally has “an ankle challenge.’’ (Rivers has not been on the harm report).
Quickley bought scorching in rubbish time and completed with a team-high 23 factors, making 6 of 12 3-pointers.
Rose was to start out his fourth straight recreation Tuesday as a result of their authentic starter, Elfrid Payton, nonetheless is out with a hamstring pressure. It doesn’t seem Payton will likely be again till after the weeklong break. He missed 18 video games final season with a hamstring pressure.
Even with Rose and Payton lacking, Rivers was not positioned again into the rotation and didn’t play. The Submit reported Rivers was not on the bench for Saturday’s recreation after he hinted he might be traded quickly, and the Knicks mentioned he was within the locker room getting remedy on his ankle. They might have used his veteran savvy Tuesday.
Rose’s scenario can be unsure. Normally protocols means a participant is away from the crew for every week, maybe longer if he checks constructive.
The Knicks’ lax play began late within the first half after they blew a six-point lead. San Antonio’s Patty Mills was left vast open to hit a desperation Three from the nook on the buzzer off an inbounds cross. That gave San Antonio a 51-47 lead at halftime and all of the momentum.
Julius Randle scored 14 factors, with 11 rebounds and 5 assists and bought to relaxation within the fourth. RJ Barrett had one other strong scoring recreation with 15 factors, additionally taking a seat within the last interval.
This was extra in regards to the Knicks’ defensive lapses after coming into the evening because the second-best protection within the NBA.
Gregg Popovich’s Spurs, after lacking the playoffs for the primary time since 1997, are again as a drive, transferring to 18-13 despite the fact that they had been lacking star LaMarcus Aldridge, out with a abdomen virus.
The Knicks had stayed away from main COVID-19 points a lot of the season. The Spurs haven’t. In truth, San Antonio postponed its scheduled recreation in opposition to the Knicks final month due to COVID-19 points.
However now issues are catching as much as the Knicks as they give the impression of being to outlive with out their high two level guards.