SAN ANTONIO — Jalen Brunson worked out with a trainer on the court and fired up some pregame shots Thursday night, but the $104 million point guard missed his second consecutive game for the Knicks on this Texas swing with a sore right hip.
With Brunson and fellow starter RJ Barrett (lacerated finger) sidelined, Miles McBride, who played a career-high 46 minutes off the bench in Monday’s overtime loss in Dallas, got his first start of the season.
McBride didn’t make much of an impact, shooting 3-for-8 from the field in the Knicks’ 122-115 loss.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game he was considering expanding the rotation from the eight players who essentially played in Dallas, with Barrett leaving the floor less than two minutes into the first quarter.
After Derrick Rose returned to the rotation with a 12-minute stint against the Mavericks, it was Evan Fournier’s turn to see his first minutes in weeks, though Cam Reddish stayed glued to the bench.
In his first action since Nov. 13, Fournier played 17 minutes, scoring 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting.
“I’ve just tried to stay present this whole time. It was a lot easier to play than to actually sit on the bench and watch the guys play,” Fournier said. “Basically, the way I treated it when I first got benched, was just to stay ready. … Today I felt like I needed to be ready, just in case.”
Rose had been taking the same approach.
“The last couple of years and because of my injuries I always have to be ready,” Rose said before the game. “Every year presents something different. This year similar to what I did in the past, but at the same time, it’s kind of similar but I’ve got to figure things out more when I get on the court.”
Rose said he’s also attempted to find the balance between mentoring young players such as McBride and recent starter Quentin Grimes and letting them figure things out on the court.
“When you’re placed in a position like that everybody’s talking to you. You’ve got the assistant, the head coach, you have the outsiders, your agent, your family members, your friends, everybody’s talking to them,” Rose said. “Q, he’s been starting, what, the last couple of games? Deuce, I think he is going to start tonight.
“So I don’t want to overload them with too much info. But things I do see in games I go up and tell them during the game. But never when we are off the floor, because they’re with a coach or obsessing over things themselves.”
Shooting guard Devin Vassell, the Spurs’ second-leading scorer at 19.6 points per game, was out with a sore left knee.