New York Notes: DiVincenzo, Anunoby, Thomas, Nets’ Team Meeting

Donte DiVincenzo always feels like he has something to prove when he faces the Kings, and Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t want that to dominate his shooting guard’s thoughts heading into Saturday’s game, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. DiVincenzo played for Sacramento at the end of the 2021/22 season, but his time with the organization ended when the Kings withdrew his qualifying offer a few days into free agency. Thibodeau talked with DiVincenzo before the game to make sure that wouldn’t affect his decision-making.

“Not like anything crazy. Just something quick,” DiVincenzo said. “Just a reminder, don’t get too locked in — because everyone knows you want to try so hard to beat your former team, stick it to them. But at the end of the day, when I’m at my best I’m focused on this locker room and making the right plays.”

Bondy notes that DiVincenzo will have a much friendlier reunion tonight with the Warriors, who helped him reestablish his market value last season. He spent one year with Golden State before landing a four-year, $46.9MM deal with the Knicks, and he still communicates with many of his ex-teammates.

“I watch a lot of their games because they’re on the West Coast, so we play our game and they’re usually on afterwards,” DiVincenzo said. “Keep in touch with a lot of those guys. That’s pretty much it. It’s just a personal relationship rather than — there’s no like extra motivation or anything like that.”

There’s more on the NBA’s New York teams:

  • The Knicks‘ stifling defense will get a significant test against the Warriors, Bondy states in a separate story. Helped by the return of OG Anunoby and a league-wide decision to permit more contact, New York has held teams to 94 or fewer points in five straight games. The Knicks will have to get by tonight without Anunoby, who will miss the game due to “injury management” for his right elbow, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday.
  • High-scoring guard Cam Thomas wasn’t on the court for a crucial possession when the Nets needed a basket late in Sunday’s loss at San Antonio, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. During a timeout prior to the play, interim coach Kevin Ollie replaced Dennis Smith Jr. with Cameron Johnson, who misfired on a three-point attempt. “I guess they thought that was the best lineup to get a three off. So, you know, it was a good look. He just missed it…” Thomas said. “I mean, it is what it is. I mean if he made it, we wouldn’t be here right now talking about if I was in the game or not. But you know, it is what it is. You can’t get it back; you just gotta move on to the next game.”
  • The Nets held a players-only meeting after Saturday’s loss in Indiana, but they couldn’t hold onto a late lead against the Spurs, Lewis adds in another piece. “We’ve just got to close out the last couple, six minutes better,” said Dennis Schroder, who Lewis hears was one of the leading voices at the meeting.
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