Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose providing big lift for Knicks

Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose providing big lift for Knicks

HOUSTON — Tom Thibodeau has frequently lauded senior guards Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier for how they have handled their extended absences from the Knicks’ rotation, and he believes that their return to the court due to injury on this road trip has only served to highlight their significance.

Saturday night, Jalen Brunson missed his third consecutive game due to a painful right hip as the Knicks defeated the Rockets 108-88. RJ Barrett remained sidelined with a finger laceration sustained in the opening minutes of Tuesday’s loss in Dallas.

Before the victory, when questioned about Fournier and Rose, who each scored eight points in 20 minutes, Thibodeau stated, “I believe it’s significant” (four points in 11 minutes). “I believe that it’s the same no matter where you are in terms of your team, as we have a number of young players who are in the rotation. Also, you need have some men in the midst, and you should surround them with the appropriate veterans so they can assist.

Eight-point scorer Evan Fournier attempts a jumper during the Knicks’ 108-88 victory over the Rockets.

“We often stress that we want our veterans to teach our younger soldiers the trade’s nuances. Therefore, if you have these types of athletes who are eager to share and assist in the development of the younger players, I believe that speeds up the process.”

Thibodeau described Fournier as a “real professional” after the 11-year veteran scored 11 points in 17 minutes on Thursday at San Antonio, in his first game since November 13 and first appearance in 23 games. He stated that Rose and Fournier set a positive example for young players like Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride.

“I believe trial and error is a significant component of learning, so they must experience things,” Thibodeau said. “There will be some hiccups, how will you handle all of those things, and then there will be times when you realize that this league is a roller coaster.

“There will be moments when things are going well, and then all of a sudden, they can take a turn for the worse. And you must be capable of handling both. Therefore, I believe it is crucial that these young men be surrounded by competent veterans.”

Mitchell Robinson, who was kept scoreless Thursday night in San Antonio, had a far more productive game against the Rockets, accumulating six points, 12 rebounds (six offensive), three blocked shots, and three steals in 33 minutes of action.

Thibodeau remarked, “He was fantastic, especially for being late.” “Made a number of amazing multiple-effort plays. On the offensive end, offensive rebounding was monumental. On the defensive end, the focus was on defending the rim, obtaining defensive rebounds, and recovering loose balls.”

Brunson and his father, Knicks assistant coach Rick Brunson, worked out on the court prior to the game.

Thibodeau stated that the guard worth $104 million is “coming closer and closer.” Since hurting his hand in Dallas, Thibodeau noted that Barrett has primarily focused on “cardiovascular exercises.”

The Rockets’ center Alperen Sengun (lower back) was unavailable.


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