New York Notes: Brunson, Hartenstein, Nets’ Defense, O’Neale

Jalen Brunson seems likely to miss the Knicks’ game on Tuesday in Portland. He was spotting wearing a walking boot on Sunday night, according to Peter Botte of the New York Post.

“Just continue to do his treatments and we’ll see where he is. When he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go,” coach Tom Thibodeau said of the Knicks’ star guard. “It’s not Jalen by himself. It’s Jalen with the medical. So he’s got a say in it, but the medical has to clear him. So there’s a number of people involved in a decision. We’re not going to put him in harm’s way.”

Brunson said the boot isn’t as ominous as it might appear. He wore it during the Lakers game as a protective measure in case it got kicked or stepped on and isn’t wearing it away from the court, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets.

We have more from the New York teams:

  • Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein earned a $350K bonus by hitting his minutes requirement for the season, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. He needed to play at least 1,350 minutes to earn the bonus and surpassed that in the win over the Lakers. Hartenstein reached another $350K bonus threshold with the Knicks winning their 40th game on Sunday, New York Basketball tweets. He can collect one more $350K bonus in his contract if the Knicks make the playoffs.
  • The Nets have won five of their last six games, thanks to an improved defense, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. “We had to challenge that group to shift the mentality of not thinking you have to score but to first of all let’s be a defensive-oriented team,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “I think we’ve responded, started to form an identity with this group and hopefully they realize that.”
  • In another Lewis story, The Post’s beat writer notes that Royce O’Neale has exceeded the franchise’s expectations after acquiring him from Utah. He’s averaging career highs in points (9.0) and assists (3.7) per game while playing superior defense. “Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench, no matter how many minutes I’m playing, I’m going to play as hard as I can, do things that I got to do for us to win the game, and just be myself,” O’Neale said. His $9.5MM contract for next season is partially guaranteed for $2.5MM.
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