Friday, March 31 2023
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The New York Knicks will be without wing RJ Barrett for about a week, the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy reported Wednesday. The team announced that Barrett will miss Thursday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs with a lacerated right index finger.

Barrett suffered the injury on a baseline drive against Luka Doncic early in Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks. With blood dripping from his hand, he immediately went to the locker room. The Knicks went on to lose 126-121 in overtime, and Doncic finished with 60 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists

After visiting the Spurs on Thursday, New York will visit the Houston Rockets on Saturday, then return home to play the Phoenix Suns next Monday and San Antonio next Wednesday. The Knicks will then have a one-off road game against Barrett’s hometown Toronto Raptors next Friday.

In theory, Barrett’s absence could represent an opportunity for wings Evan Fournier and Cam Reddish, both of whom have been completely out of New York’s rotation. I suggested that one of them might get a shot when Obi Toppin hurt his knee a few weeks ago, though, that has not happened. In Dallas, with Toppin and Jalen Brunson sidelined, the Barrett injury turned the Knicks’ nine-man rotation into an eight-man rotation — Immanuel Quickley played 51 minutes, Quentin Grimes played 48 minutes, Miles McBride played 46 minutes and Julius Randle played 45 minutes. (The last time Fournier made an appearance was Nov. 13; the last time Reddish did was Dec. 3.) 

Overshadowed by Doncic’s unprecedented performance, Grimes scored a career-high 33 points on Tuesday and shot 7-for-16 from 3-point range. Brunson is listed as questionable for Thursday’s game with a sore right hip, so New York might need Grimes’ to try to build on that.

Excluding his two-minute stint against the Mavericks, the 22-year-old Barrett averaged 23.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 3.0 turnovers and 0.7 steals in 36.7 minutes in the month of December, while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and making 42.4 percent of his 3-point attempts. Last Friday against the Chicago Bulls, Barrett scored 44 points on 14-for-20 shooting. On the season, however, his per-possession stats aren’t much different from what he produced last season. His usage rate is slightly down (25.4 percent vs. 26.8 percent in 2021-22), a result of Brunson’s arrival, and his true shooting percentage is slightly up (53.2 percent vs. 51.1 percent in 2021-22). 

The Knicks are 18-17 and have the league’s 10th-ranked offense, 10th-ranked defense and 10th-ranked point differential. After winning eight consecutive games earlier this month, they’ve now lost four straight. 



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