Donte DiVincenzo

Knicks Notes: McBride, Hartenstein, DiVincenzo, Anunoby, Burks

After losing back-to-back games in Indiana, the Knicks made a lineup change ahead of Game 5, inserting Miles McBride into Precious Achiuwa‘s spot in the starting five. As Ian Begley of writes, the move paid major dividends.

The Knicks outscored the Pacers by 26 points during McBride’s 40 minutes on the court, and the extra spacing afforded by his presence gave Jalen Brunson more room to operate — the Knicks star took advantage by scoring a series-high 44 points in the blowout victory. McBride was also one of the primary defenders on Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton, who contributed just 13 points and five assists on the night.

“Huge,” Donte DiVincenzo said of McBride’s impact, per Begley. “Offensively, spacing the floor, being aggressive. And defensively making it hell full court, denying it. Being able to be in help and get back. He was special tonight.”

Despite using a smaller lineup, with the 6’2″ McBride replacing the 6’8″ Achiuwa, the Knicks dominated the game inside. They outscored Indiana by a 62-36 margin in the paint and grabbed 53 rebounds (20 offensive) compared to just 29 (five offensive) for the Pacers. Seventeen of those rebounds, including 12 offensive boards, went to Isaiah Hartenstein, who said playing “physical” basketball was a priority for him heading into Tuesday’s game.

“I feel like the games in Indiana, I wasn’t playing like myself, wasn’t physical,” Hartenstein said, according to Peter Botte of The New York Post. “I was letting them kind of play how I play, so just coming in, that was the biggest thing I wanted to do.”

Here’s more on the Knicks as they prepare to head back to Indianapolis with a 3-2 series lead:

  • DiVincenzo and Myles Turner got into a brief altercation in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game and had to be separated (Twitter video link). After DiVincenzo threw down a big dunk, he came back up the court and attempted to fight through a Turner screen, but got called for a foul. According to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, Turner seemed to take exception with an elbow to the gut from the Knicks wing on the play. “They were trying to be tough guys. And that’s not their identity, and there’s nothing more to that,” DiVincenzo told reporters after the game. “I don’t agree with trying to walk up on somebody. … Nobody is going to fight in the NBA. So take the foul, keep it moving. You’re not a tough guy. Just keep it moving.”
  • Head coach Tom Thibodeau said on Tuesday that injured forward OG Anunoby (hamstring strain) was doing some “light work” on the court, as Begley tweets. However, in a pregame TNT segment, sideline reporter Chris Haynes (Twitter video link) suggested that Anunoby is probably a long shot to play again in this series, stating that a potential return for the Eastern Conference Finals is more likely.
  • After not playing in any of the Knicks’ first seven games of the playoffs, Alec Burks has emerged as a reliable rotation piece since Anunoby went down, scoring 14, 20, and 18 points in his past three games. “He’s been giving us huge minutes this series,” Josh Hart said (story via Botte). “He’s a true professional, someone who’s staying ready. You see him every day working hard, getting his shots up. That’s what pros do. When they’re not in the rotation they continue to get better, continue to stay ready. When his number was called he came out and provided for us when we desperately needed it. He’s a true pro, someone who we’re going to continue to rely on for those minutes.”

Knicks Notes: Anunoby, Brunson, Hartenstein, Hart, DiVincenzo, Adjustments

OG Anunoby won’t play in Game 5 of the Knicks’ series against the Pacers on Tuesday due to a strained left hamstring, but the injury report isn’t all bad news, Steve Popper of Newsday tweets. Jalen Brunson, who is battling a right foot injury, and Isaiah Hartenstein, who banged his left shoulder in Game 4, are not on it. Anunoby hasn’t played since Game 2.

We have more on the Knicks:

  • They were embarrassed by their performance in Game 4, when they lost by 32 points. Ironman Josh Hart took his share of the blame, Stefan Bondy of the New York Post writes. “It’s the playoffs. You gotta find it. That’s something that we didn’t do (Sunday),” Hart said. “I put that on my shoulders, someone who brings energy, brings hustle, the kinda things I didn’t do (Sunday).  It’s time to get better. It’s rest and recovery. But mentally, we gotta make sure we’re prepared to do everything we need to do to get a win on Tuesday.”
  • The Knicks return home for Game 5 and Donte DiVincenzo is confident the Game 4 stinker won’t carry over, according to Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post. “We’ll be fine,” he said. “We’re not worried about it. I know this group and Tuesday is a different game. It has nothing to do with (Sunday). It’s always good to go home. It’s also better to go home after a loss like this where mentally everybody is locked in and ready for the next game and then we will have that energy from the Garden to feed off as well. It’s super big for us. Like I said, this group is going to respond.”
  • What kind of adjustments can the Knicks make? Fred Katz of The Athletic speculates they might use Brunson more off the ball, running him around screens and having Hart or DiVincenzo initiate the offense. They could also tweak the starting lineup, going with Miles McBride in place of Precious Achiuwa to create better spacing on offense.

Injuries Piling Up For Knicks As OG Anunoby Leaves Game With Sore Hamstring

The Knicks grabbed a 2-0 lead in their second-round series with Indiana, but manpower is becoming a concern as they get closer to the Eastern Conference finals.

OG Anunoby left Wednesday’s game in the second half due to a sore left hamstring, the team announced (via Twitter). Speaking to reporters immediately following the contest, coach Tom Thibodeau said he hadn’t talked with the medical staff and couldn’t provide any details on the severity of the injury, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.

Before departing, Anunoby scored 28 points in 28 minutes, partly because Jalen Brunson was unavailable for the end of the second quarter due to soreness in his right foot. Brunson tested the foot at halftime and wound up playing the entire second half.

“A lot of toughness,” Thibodeau said, per Steve Popper of Newsday. “That’s the makeup — we know that’s his makeup — but also the makeup of the team. He went in back, they worked on him, he warmed up and we didn’t know if he was going to go or not. Jalen never asks out of a game, so we knew it was something.”

New York trailed by 10 points at halftime, but Brunson’s return swung the momentum. The Knicks tied the game in a little over four minutes and took control with a 21-6 run.

Brunson told reporters he’s “all good” with the injury and he didn’t have any medical imaging done on his foot while he was in the locker room, Begley adds (Twitter link).

Josh Hart played the entire 48 minutes for the second straight game, posting a near triple-double with 19 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. Donte DiVincenzo logged nearly 44 minutes as Thibodeau leaned on a seven-man rotation.

“He’s a great leader,” Thibodeau said of Hart. “Players all have respect for that, when a guy is willing to give whatever he has. Look at what Josh has given us, you have great respect for that, says a lot. To me, the actions speak a lot more than the words.”

The Knicks were already short-handed entering the game after losing starting center Mitchell Robinson with a stress injury in his left ankle that will sideline him for the rest of the playoffs. That’s in addition to missing All-Star power forward Julius Randle, who hasn’t played since late January due to a separated shoulder, and Bojan Bogdanovic, who is out for the season due to foot and wrist injuries. Isaiah Hartenstein was on the court for 39 minutes tonight, while Precious Achiuwa saw 28 minutes off the bench.

Teammates are disappointed for Robinson, who battled his way from left ankle surgery in December so he could be available for the postseason, Popper adds in a separate story.

“It’s sad, especially from like a personal standpoint,” Hartenstein said. “We’re close. Knowing what he had to go through to get back, even when he was playing, he was giving us everything he had. I think without him, we wouldn’t have won the Philly series. It’s sad, but at this point, we’ve gotta be there to support him. Basketball wise, really it’s just next man up. We’ve gone through this all year. I think that’s something that gives us confidence. We’ve gone through this a million times. So it’s sad but I think it helps us now when we have something like this happen.”

Knicks Notes: Hart, Rotation, Hartenstein, Brunson, DiVincenzo

Back in November, Josh Hart griped a little about what he felt was a reduced role in the Knicks‘ offense and expressed a desire to play more. As Fred Katz of The Athletic writes, Hart has no complaints about how much he’s playing in the postseason (46.6 minutes per game), joking earlier this week that the only activity that tires him out isn’t basketball-related.

“My wife arguing with me,” he said. “That makes me extremely tired.”

Still, Stefan Bondy of The New York Post (subscription required) wonders how sustainable it is to have Hart and the Knicks’ other starters playing such heavy minutes as their season continues well into the spring. With Julius Randle, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Mitchell Robinson now out for the playoffs, Precious Achiuwa will likely enter New York’s rotation as its seventh man, but head coach Tom Thibodeau hasn’t shown much trust in anyone further down the depth chart.

The Pacers, living up to their name, played at the fastest pace this season of any playoff team, and there will be fewer days off between games in the second round than there were in the first, Bondy notes. According to guard Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana is hoping to take advantage of its depth and wear down New York over the course of the second-round series.

“We’re a pretty deep team. Probably the deepest in the league,” Haliburton said. “So we’re trying to use that to our advantage by getting up and pressuring and trying to wear on these guys as much as we can for a seven-game series.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Robinson’s latest injury underscores how important it is for the Knicks to re-sign Isaiah Hartenstein when he reaches unrestricted free agency this summer, Bondy writes in another New York Post story. Holding Hartenstein’s Early Bird rights, the Knicks will be able to offer him a starting salary worth up to approximately $16MM. While the expectation is that it won’t take more than that to retain Hartenstein, his value could continue to rise if he enjoys a strong playoff run without Robinson available to share the workload in the middle.
  • With his Game 1 performance vs. Indiana, Jalen Brunson became just one of four players in NBA history to score 40 or more points in four consecutive playoff games, joining Jerry West, Michael Jordan, and former Knicks star Bernard King. As Katz details for The Athletic, Brunson’s teammates and head coach appreciate the fact that – as great as he’s playing – he wants to keep getting better. “The thing that’s impressive, it’s always within the context of winning and his teammates and that’s always the most important thing to him,” Thibodeau said. “And I love his mentality because his mentality is that he’s not satisfied.”
  • While Donte DiVincenzo obviously hasn’t replaced Randle as the Knicks’ power forward in recent months, DiVincenzo’s ability to defend perimeter players, serve as a legitimate No. 2 scoring option, and step up in clutch moments has helped the team make up for the loss of its star forward, argues Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post.

Knicks Notes: Rotation, Hart, Thibodeau, DiVincenzo

The Knicks “could” expand their rotation beyond seven players when they face Indiana in the Eastern Conference semifinals, according to Tom Thibodeau, but New York’s head coach isn’t making any promises either way, as Peter Botte of The New York Post details.

Nine players saw action for the Knicks in the first round, but Bojan Bogdanovic suffered a foot injury during the series that ended his season and Precious Achiuwa – a DNP-CD in four of six games vs. Philadelphia – only played when Mitchell Robinson was unavailable. In addition to his starters, Thibodeau essentially only used Robinson and Miles McBride off the bench, Botte writes.

If the Knicks do roll with an eight-man rotation in round two, Achiuwa is the most likely candidate to see regular playing time, says Botte. An undersized center, Achiuwa may match up better against a Pacers front line led by Myles Turner, who spends more time on the perimeter and isn’t as imposing in the paint as Joel Embiid.

Alec Burks is another candidate to see some action off the bench, but he played poorly down the stretch after being acquired from Detroit, shooting just 30.7% from the floor in 23 regular season appearances as a Knick.

Here’s more out of New York:

  • Josh Hart has been a perfect fit for the Knicks as a player on the court and for New York City as a personality off the court, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Current TNT analyst Stan Van Gundy, who coached Hart in New Orleans earlier in his career, tells Bondy that he viewed Hart as a player who “lived for” the biggest games and the biggest moments. “Josh was always great when you played the best teams, when he got the matchup with the best players,” Van Gundy said. “You never had to worry about him.”
  • After a clip from a February podcast in which he referred to Indiana as “bottom of the barrel” resurfaced ahead of the Knicks’ second-round series, Hart is prepared to hear boos from the Pacers faithful in Indianapolis. According to Botte, Hart sheepishly tried to walk back his comments by calling Indianapolis a “great city” and insisting he loves Indiana. “Do I think I’ll probably get booed? Probably,” Hart said. “It’s funny. But for me it’s always like, I don’t mind it. That’s their job. Their job is to boo, to get loud, cheer for their team. So, like I said, as long as I can get some Long’s Bakery donuts, I’ll be solid.”
  • Jason Kidd is the latest NBA head coach to sign a contract extension, having completed a new deal with the Mavericks earlier today. Could Thibodeau be next? As Van Gundy tells Bondy, the Knicks’ coach, whose current contract expires in 2025, looks like an obvious candidate for an extension. “I think it would be a real mistake on (the Knicks’) part not to lock him up for a lot of years,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t think it’s something Tom has to worry about. He certainly wants to be there. Any organization that it’s in a win-now mode would want him, so he’s going to have a job. … But I think he’d rather be there and they should want to lock him up for as long as they possibly can.”
  • Donte DiVincenzo will get the assignment as the primary defender on Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton to open the second-round series. Brian Lewis of The New York Post takes a look at how DiVincenzo is approaching that challenge.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Oubre, Hield, Payne

The toughness that Joel Embiid displayed in Game 3 will have to continue for the Sixers to have any chance to win their series with New York, writes Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Despite dealing with the pain of a surgically repaired left knee and the difficulties brought on by a mild case of Bell’s palsy, Embiid set a career playoff high with 50 points in Thursday’s crucial victory.

With two days to rest before the series resumes Sunday, Embiid is embracing the challenges of playoff basketball, no matter what physical ailments he has to overcome.

“I want to play as much as possible. I only have about, maybe, eight years left. So I have to enjoy this as much as possible and I want to win,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep pushing. I’m not going to quit. If it’s on one leg, I’m still going to go out there and try, but that’s not an excuse. Got to keep playing better, and better, and better.”

After Game 3, Embiid called the Bell’s palsy “an unfortunate situation” and told reporters, including Tim Bontemps of ESPN, that it started with migraine headaches shortly before Philadelphia’s play-in game last week. He explained that the condition sometimes causes blurred vision, and he frequently has to put drops in left eye to keep it from drying out.

“It’s pretty annoying, you know, with the left side of my face, my mouth and my eye. So yeah, it’s been tough,” Embiid said. “But I’m not a quitter, so gotta keep fighting. But yeah, it’s unfortunate. That’s the way I look at it. But it’s not an excuse. Gotta keep pushing.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Kelly Oubre responded to the Knickscomplaints about officiating after Game 3, per Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. In addition to a free throw disparity, New York players were upset about a Flagrant 1 foul that Embiid committed when he grabbed Mitchell Robinson‘s leg, with Donte DiVincenzo calling it a “dirty play.” Oubre said he has been on the receiving end of that type of contact and doesn’t consider it dirty. He also called for a focus on basketball instead of threats of retaliation. “It’s like, let’s just hoop,” Oubre said at today’s practice. “Let’s go out there and play hard and nobody’s gonna fight. This ain’t WWE. So at the end of the day, stand on the stuff that’ll say so we’ll see tomorrow how they react.”
  • Philadelphia police are conducting an internal investigation into whether Oubre received preferential treatment following his auto accident early Tuesday morning, tweets Michael J. Babcock of TMZ Sports. Oubre, who is accused of running a red light and hitting another car, wasn’t cited or given a sobriety test or breathalyzer.
  • Buddy Hield played just four minutes in Game 3 and appears to have been replaced in the rotation by Cameron Payne, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Hield didn’t get off the bench after the first quarter, while Payne contributed 11 points and three assists in nearly 16 minutes. Hield has been a disappointment since being acquired from Indiana at the deadline, and Pompey suggests the Sixers would probably rather have Marcus Morris, who was shipped to San Antonio in the three-team trade.

Knicks Notes: Officiating, Robinson, Anunoby, DiVincenzo, Hart

After the Sixers ripped the officiating following their Game 2 loss, it was the Knicks who had grievances to express during their post-game media session following Game 3. As Peter Botte of The New York Post writes, head coach Tom Thibodeau wasn’t happy with the fact that Joel Embiid went to the line 21 times while his team as a whole was awarded just 19 free throw attempts.

“I’ll look at it again, and I’ll send my clips in like I do every game and they’ll say, ‘marginal contact,’ and then we’ll have marginal contact on Embiid and he’ll be at the line 21 times,” Thibodeau said after Thursday’s loss. “So that’s the way it works.”

While some Knicks players suggested they’d expected the officiating in Game 3 to favor the Sixers after how Game 2 ended, they took exception to an Embiid foul on Mitchell Robinson in the first quarter. After Embiid fell to the floor on defense, he grabbed Robinson’s legs as the Knicks center attempted to rise up for a layup attempt (video link). Donte DiVincenzo called it a “dirty” play, while Josh Hart said Robinson was fortunate to avoid a significant injury.

“I’m all for tough fouls, tough playoff fouls, but that’s something that can put a guy out for a significant amount of time,” Hart said, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “So we’re lucky he didn’t get seriously hurt during that time.”

Embiid – who was called for a flagrant 1 foul on the play, rather than flagrant 2 that would have ended his night – explained to reporters after the game that he had “flashbacks” to a play earlier this year when Jonathan Kuminga fell on his knee. He said he wanted to avoid a repeat of that incident.

“I didn’t mean to hurt anybody,” Embiid said. “I just … in those situations I gotta protect myself, because I’ve been in way too many situations where I’m always the recipient of the bad end of it.”

Here’s more on the Knicks as they prepare for Sunday’s Game 4:

  • Robinson’s status for Game 4 remains up in the air, but he didn’t practice on Saturday, according to Thibodeau (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic). If Robinson is unable to play, the pressure will be on Isaiah Hartenstein and Precious Achiuwa to respond to and match Embiid’s physicality on Sunday, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.
  • OG Anunoby and DiVincenzo were two of the Knicks’ most reliable role players during the regular season, but they’ve been up and down so far in the playoffs, according to Botte, who says New York needs more consistency out of the two wings going forward. The Knicks outscored opponents with Anunoby on the floor in every single one of his 23 regular season games with the team, but have a negative net rating during his minutes in two of three postseason contests.
  • The fact that so many key Knicks contributors played their college ball at Villanova has been a fun subplot of the first-round series between New York and Philadelphia. As Bondy details for The New York Post, both Hart and DiVincenzo spoke this week about how they hoped to be drafted by the Sixers when they came into the NBA. “Yeah, I wanted to go (to Philadelphia),” said Hart, who was the No. 30 pick in the 2017 draft. “They were at 25 and did a draft-and-stash, some European guy that I can’t pronounce the name.” The 76ers used that pick on Anzejs Pasecniks, who spent the next two seasons overseas, then had his rights renounced by Philadelphia in 2019.

Atlantic Notes: Bogdanovic, DiVincenzo, Tatum, Maxey

Trade deadline acquisition Bojan Bogdanovic came up big for the Knicks in Game 2 against the Sixers on Monday despite a sore left wrist, Stefan Bondy of the New York Post notes. Bogdanovic, whose $19MM contract for next season is partially guaranteed for $2MM, hit a couple of 3-pointers and added two assists in 12 minutes.

“We had a lot of contributions from different people,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I thought Bogey came in, hit some big shots to start the fourth.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks wing Donte DiVincenzo was benched in the fourth quarter of Game 1 but he was prominent throughout the second half of Game 2. He wound up playing 37 minutes and hitting the decisive 3-pointer, giving him 19 points for the game. “We practice that every day: dagger 3s and second-chance 3s,” he said, per Peter Botte of the New York Post.
  • Jayson Tatum is just fine after Caleb Martin‘s hard foul in Game 1 of the Celtics’ series with the Heat on Sunday. Tatum, who hit the floor hard on that play, practiced in full on Tuesday, The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn tweets. Game 2 will be played on Wednesday night.
  • Sixers forward Nicolas Batum felt that Tyrese Maxey was a “no-brainer” for the Most Improved Player award. Maxey was named the winner on Tuesday. “This is the first award that after 30 games people were like, ‘Maxey’s the Most Improved Player.’ It was pretty much a no-brainer. I’m very happy to see him get it,” Batum told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He deserves it with the work he puts in, and the way he carried himself this year. I’m just happy for him.” center Paul Reed added, “He deserves it for sure.” 

Atlantic Notes: Hetzel, Nets, Maxey, Thibodeau, Celtics

The Nets are hiring veteran assistant coach Steve Hetzel to be part of Jordi Fernandez‘s new staff in Brooklyn, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Hetzel was an assistant coach in Portland for the past three seasons under Chauncey Billups. Prior to his stint with the Blazers, he worked on Steve Clifford‘s staffs in both Charlotte (2014-18) and Orlando (2018-21).

Perhaps most notably, Hetzel was the head coach of the Canton Charge in the G League during the 2013/14 season. Fernandez was an assistant on his staff that year before taking over as the Charge’s head coach for the next two seasons after that.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Sixers have listed guard Tyrese Maxey as questionable to play in Game 2 on Monday due to an illness that forced him to miss this morning’s shootaround, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • In an anonymous player poll conducted by The Athletic, 47% of the respondents named Tom Thibodeau as the head coach they’d least want to play for. However, Thibodeau’s Knicks players were prepared to go to bat for him, as Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. “Nobody’s in our locker room and everybody that talks is on the outside of our locker room. They don’t know what goes on,” Donte DiVincenzo said. “Thibs is a great leader. He’s a great head coach and he’s done an amazing job this year not only dealing with injuries in and out of the lineup but also getting the best out of every single player on our team. I’m having a career year. Different guys on the team are having career years.”
  • The Celtics have made at least the Eastern Conference Finals in five of the last seven postseason but haven’t won a title during that time. Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston explores how last year’s additions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday give the team a new dimension and raise its ceiling entering the 2024 playoffs.
  • Porzingis passed a key test in Game 1 on Sunday vs. Miami, writes Brian Robb of, scoring 18 points and finishing as a +17 in his 34 minutes. Porzingis – who had only played in 10 playoff games, including none since 2021 – lacks the extensive postseason experience of his fellow Celtics starters, but he showed on Sunday that he’s up to the challenge with the stakes raised, says Robb.

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Embiid, DiVincenzo, Anunoby, McBride

Jalen Brunson was not among the 12 players chosen to represent Team USA in the Paris Olympics. Managing director Grant Hill said it was difficult to leave the Knicks’ star guard off the team, Ian Begley of SNY TV tweets.

“You wish you could’ve had three or four more (spots) because there are so many incredibly talented players and incredibly talented people.  That was tough,” Hill said. “It was tough having to say no to certain people who I respect and admire. Certainly he was one of them. And there’s plenty of others who sadly and unfortunately we had to say no to. But with that said, we’re really excited about our group.”

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Philadelphia’s play-in victory over Miami set up a Sixers-Knicks matchup in the first round. While Isaiah Hartenstein and Mitchell Robinson will take turns guarding Joel Embiid, it will require a team effort and a variety of coverages to hold down one of the league’s premier scorers. Fred Katz of The Athletic examines what the Knicks might do defensively in the series to keep the reigning Most Valuable Player in check.
  • Donte DiVincenzo was deemed ineligible for postseason honors even though he appeared in all but one contest. As we detailed earlier this week, he didn’t qualify because he played fewer than 20 minutes in too many games. DiVincenzo, who was considered a candidate for the Most Improved Player award, believes the league will tweak the qualifications, Stefan Bondy of the New York Post relays. “I think the league will probably look at the rule going forward, but it’s not something where if I got the nine seconds, I’m a shoo-in to win the award,” DiVincenzo said. “It’s not that situation. So, for me, I don’t really care about it. I think going forward, you look at the rule. You adjust it accordingly. And you just go from there. And that’s pretty much the only thinking.”
  • The Knicks are 20-3 when OG Anunoby is in the lineup and he could play a key defensive role against Tyrese Maxey, Peter Botte of the New York Post notes. “It makes life a lot easier for all of us the things he’s able to do on that [defensive] side of the ball,” Brunson said.
  • Miles McBride played sparingly during the playoffs last season. He will have an expanded role this time around and he’s ready for it, Botte writes. “I take what I learned last year from the little bit I did play, and just watching the team go out there, and we were able to get one playoff-series win,” said McBride, who signed a three-year extension in late December. “This year, I’m just bringing a fresh mindset and will do what I’ve been doing the whole year.”