Atlantic Notes: Fournier, Rose, Maxey, Nurse, Claxton

After a long stretch outside the Knicks‘ rotation, injuries have given Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose a chance to play again, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Jalen Brunson missed a third straight game Saturday with a sore hip and RJ Barrett sat out his second game after suffering a lacerated finger on Tuesday, so Fournier and Rose were back in their familiar roles.

Coach Tom Thibodeau called Fournier “a true pro” after he returned to the court Thursday following a 23-game absence. On Saturday, Thibodeau held up Fournier and Rose as positive examples for young guards such as Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride.

“I think trial and error is a big part of learning, so they have to go through things,” Thibodeau said. “There’s gonna be some bumps, how do you handle all those things and then there’s times, hey look, this league, it’s a roller coaster. There’s gonna be times it’s going great and then all of a sudden it can change very quickly on you and it’s going the other way. And you have to be able to handle both. So I think having the right veterans around those young guys is very important.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey didn’t play Saturday after logging 19 minutes Friday night in his return from a fractured foot. Coach Doc Rivers plans to monitor Maxey’s playing time for a while, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
  • The Raptors responded to a challenge from coach Nick Nurse in Friday’s win over Phoenix, notes Michael Grange of Toronto had fallen out of a play-in spot with five straight losses, and Nurse called the recent effort “unacceptable.” Instead of having a shootaround before facing the Suns, the team went through a 20-minute film session with Nurse pointing out areas that need improvement. “It’s very simple, foundational things that we’ve got to get better,” Nurse explained. “… I’m probably not gonna air on the soft side of saying, ‘It was just a one-night thing.’ I’m gonna show them the good, bad, and ugly. I’m gonna show them that I’m not backing away from any of that stuff. I’m gonna show them what they need to do better. That’s the only way I think I can teach ‘em.”
  • Nic Claxton has given the Nets a defensive anchor in the middle, and coach Jacque Vaughn believes he’s playing the best basketball of his career during the team’s 11-game winning streak, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
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