The New York Knicks defeated the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night, 123-113, to pick up their 10th win in their last 11 games. It was not without a few frights, however, the worst of which came when All-Star point guard Jalen Brunson rolled his ankle late in the fourth quarter and had to leave the game.
Brunson appears to have avoided a severe sprain. He left the arena without a limp or crutches, according to Ian Begley.
The Knicks led by as much as 28 and were still ahead by 20-plus points early in the fourth quarter. They seemed to be cruising to an easy win until the Grizzlies mounted a furious comeback that forced Tom Thibodeau to put the Knicks’ starters back in the game. Just a few minutes after his return, Brunson was driving to the basket when he slipped and twisted his right ankle.
Brunson immediately left the game and went back to the locker room. He did not return, and the Grizzlies eventually cut the deficit down to four points before the Knicks hung on. After the game, all anyone cared about was Brunson’s status, given his importance to the team.
Thibodeau offered little in the way of details, saying only that Brunson was being evaluated by the team’s medical staff. Donte DiVincenzo, however, gave a positive update.
“Playing with him for so long, I said, ‘You good?’ and he’s like, ‘I’m good,’ and I didn’t ask anything after that,” DiVincenzo, who finished with 32 points, five rebounds, and five assists, said. “I don’t worry about Jalen at all. He’s one of the toughest guys in the league. I’m not worried.”
Begley’s report and DiVincenzo’s comments will have New York City breathing a sigh of relief. It remains to be seen how long, if at all, Brunson may be sidelined, but all indications are that he should be back sooner rather than later.
That’s great news for a Knicks team that has surged into a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference at 33-18, and is already dealing with a number of injuries. Julius Randle (shoulder), OG Anunoby (elbow), and Quentin Grimes (knee) were all out on Tuesday, in addition to big man Mitchell Robinson, who underwent ankle surgery back in December.
Brunson, who was recently named to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career, has carried the Knicks all season long. His 27.3 points and 6.5 assists per game are both career-highs, and he’s shooting 41.3% from 3-point land.