Quentin Grimes

Eastern Notes: Rivers, Knicks, Nets, Murphy

Now that the Sixers have been eliminated by the Celtics, is Doc Rivers a goner? Marc Stein wrote in his latest Substack article prior to Game 7 on Sunday that there have been recent murmurs Rivers’ status could become precarious if the team failed to close out the series. It wouldn’t be surprising, considering that proven coaches like Mike Budenholzer and Monty Williams have recently been dismissed due to postseason disappointments.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • With a wealth of extra draft picks and some solid young players, the Knicks could be in line for the next star who demands a trade, Eric Pincus writes for Bleacher Report. The salaries of Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier could help facilitate a deal, along with potential younger trade pieces such as Mitchell Robinson, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes and Obi Toppin.
  • After getting burned by trying to build around superstars, the Nets will be looking to build around players who want to stay with the franchise, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. GM Sean Marks will have a busy offseason but the thing he’ll be looking for the most is high-character guys who want to be part of the group. “It’s got to come authentically. It’s got to be real,” Marks said. “I mean, I think we’ve seen it before, not just here but around the league. You bring somebody in and it’s not authentic to who they are. We want to make sure people that want to come here want to be part of something special and being part of Brooklyn and part of this unique situation.”
  • Former Pistons executive Rob Murphy and his legal representatives are firing back at the woman who accused him of harassment, Tresa Baldas of the Detroit Free Press reports. His lawyer alleged the Pistons cleared his client months ago of sexual harassment following an internal investigation. The same counsel added that Murphy looks forward to defending his name through the judicial process.

Knicks Notes: Barrett, Brunson, Grimes, Quickley, Sims

Knicks small forward RJ Barrett helped provide a big lift to New York in a must-win Game 5 effort, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Lewis notes that Barrett has been the Knicks’ most consistent contributor in their ongoing series against the Heat, aside from star point guard Jalen Brunson. Barrett is averaging 22.0 PPG and 4.8 RPG in the series.

Barrett scored 26 points while shooting 8-of-17 from the floor in the Game 5 win. He also helped defend Miami’s star small forward Jimmy Butler.

“I thought [All-Star power forward Julius Randle] and RJ were terrific,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said following the game.

There’s more out of New York:

  • Thibodeau also had high praise for Brunson, who scored 38 points while playing all 48 minutes of the Knicks’ eventual 112-103 victory over the Heat Wednesday, per Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter  links). “I’ve never seen anyone work the way he does,” Thibodeau said. “What can you say about the guy? He’s just incredible.”
  • Brunson’s colleague, Quentin Grimes, also played all 48 minutes in the victory, in his second start of the series, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Grimes served as the team’s primary defender against Butler, and he held the 2023 All-NBA Second Teamer under 20 points for the first time in the playoffs so far. “He’s probably been the best player of the playoffs so far,” Grimes said. “So knowing I have that matchup every night, I have to be more disciplined and probably have to play 48… Forty eight or 25, it really doesn’t matter to me. I’ve just got to make sure I’m locked in on him defensively and try to do whatever I can to slow him down.”
  • The Knicks have announced (Twitter link) that guard Immanuel Quickley is doubtful to suit up for Game 6 due to a sprained left ankle, while reserve center Jericho Sims will miss yet another contest as he continues to recover from a right shoulder surgery. Quickley was initially listed as doubtful for Games 4 and 5 before being ruled out.

Knicks Notes: Randle, Robinson, Grimes, Thibodeau

After the Knicks were outrebounded and outhustled by the Heat in Game 4 of their second round series, Julius Randle raised concerns about his team’s drive and effort level, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.com.

“Maybe they want it more,” Randle said. “I don’t know. That’s been who we are all year and we got to find a way to step up and make those plays, keep the season alive.”

Randle added that the Knicks, who face a 3-1 deficit, need to “look within” before Game 5 as the series shifts back to New York and ask themselves “how bad do you want it?”

According to Friedell, Randle’s comments signal the extent to which the Knicks’ confidence has been shaken in the last week, as the team doesn’t seem to have an answer for Jimmy Butler and a veteran Heat squad.

Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post suggests that if Randle is right – or New York believes he’s right – the series is all but over. However, Vaccaro notes that some of Randle’s teammates expressed more optimism about the Knicks’ ability to reestablish the sort of physical, high-effort playing style that made their season a success.

“We’ve got to get back to being the tough, physical team that we’ve been, take care of the defense boards and take care of the ball better,” RJ Barrett said. “If we can clean that up we have a good chance.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Mitchell Robinson‘s struggles vs. Bam Adebayo and the Heat continued on Monday, says Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Miami racked up 13 offensive rebounds (seven in the fourth quarter) while Adebayo had 23 points and 13 rebounds. Robinson knows the team needs more from him to have a shot at a comeback. “S–t, got to box out. We got to limit them to one shot,” he said. “I didn’t do a good job of it today. And I got to be better.” For what it’s worth, Robinson was the only Knicks with a positive plus-minus in Game 4 (+1).
  • A starter for much of the season, Quentin Grimes came off the bench in the first three games of the second round and didn’t play more than 26 minutes in any of those contests. He returned to the starting five and logged nearly 42 minutes on Monday, but couldn’t provide the team with a major spark, Braziller writes for The New York Post.
  • Grimes told reporters on Monday that the Twitter user who identified himself as Grimes’ manager and griped about the second-year wing’s role after Game 3 is a close friend, but not his manager. “He doesn’t speak for me. He wants to win as much as I do,” Grimes said, per Braziller. “He just tweeted something that he probably regrets. But he doesn’t speak for me at all, for sure.”
  • Erik Spoelstra has been outcoaching Tom Thibodeau so far in this series, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, who notes that Thibodeau has never defeated Spoelstra in the postseason, losing two playoff series to the Heat when he coached the Bulls. “He’s been putting on a clinic,” a veteran Eastern Conference scout said of Spoelstra, per Lewis.

Knicks Notes: Hart, Randle, McBride, Grimes

Josh Hart has been raising his potential value in free agency throughout the postseason and will likely receive a new contract starting in the $15-18MM range, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Scotto talked to four NBA executives to help gauge Hart’s next deal. They all believe he will turn down his $12.96MM player option for next season and sign a new contract with the Knicks.

The 27-year-old swingman has been a valuable addition since being acquired from the Trail Blazers at the trade deadline. He averaged 10.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 25 regular season games, mostly off the bench, and his hustle and intensity have made him a favorite of head coach Tom Thibodeau. Hart has seen a different role in the playoffs, starting five of the team’s eight games and matching up with the Heat’s Jimmy Butler in their second-round series.

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • New York needs Julius Randle to snap out of his postseason slump to have a chance to get past Miami, writes Barbara Barker of Newsday. She points out that Randle, who is recovering from a sprained left ankle, has been held to 15 points or fewer in four of his seven playoff games. He was particularly bad on Saturday, shooting 4-of-15 from the field and committing four turnovers. “You take the emotions out of it,” he told reporters Sunday. “This (loss) is not one you can typically flush away. You learn from the game before, what you can do better. … One game is not going to determine how we feel for the next game or what we think the future’s going to be.”
  • With Immanuel Quickley listed as doubtful for Monday’s Game 4 due to a sprained left ankle, second-year guard Miles McBride could see his first significant playoff action, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Thibodeau also didn’t rule out turning to veterans Derrick Rose or Evan Fournier, even though neither has been part of the team’s rotation for months. “Everything’s on the table,” Thibodeau said. “We’ll see how it unfolds.”
  • A Twitter user who identified himself as Quentin Grimes‘ business manager posted a message after New York’s Game 3 loss complaining about Grimes’ usage, per Jared Schwartz of The New York Post. The poster had the username Matthew Z. and handle @mattkeepgoing, and Schwartz notes that Grimes’ manager is Matt Evans, who he grew up with in the Houston area. Grimes started 66 games during the regular season, but he was moved to a reserve role after returning from an injured shoulder.

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Randle, Quickley, Grimes

The Knicks didn’t get nearly enough production from their star players in Saturday’s loss to the Heat, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett combined to shoot 16-of-51 from the field and 2-of-17 from three-point range as New York was badly outplayed in Game 3.

“A lot of that starts with me,” Brunson said. “They’re a very paint-heavy team when you drive the ball offensively. They’re going to collapse. There’s a lot of eyes on me when I drive the ball, so I have to be able to find guys and get them in the right positions to take their shots. It starts with me, and I know I’ve said this before, I got to be better.”

Randle was able to play 38 minutes Saturday in his second game since returning from a sprained ankle. He didn’t use the injury as an excuse for his 4-for-15 shooting performance and assured reporters that he’ll be fine for the rest of the series.

“Like I said, you all keep asking me. It does not matter. I’ll be available to play,” Randle said. “I get myself ready. In my mind, it’s not a factor. I’ve got to find a way to play better and get a win.”

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • Immanuel Quickley twisted his ankle late in Saturday’s game when he collided with Bam Adebayo in a chase for a loose ball, per Steve Popper of Newsday. Quickley limped to the locker room and isn’t sure about his status for Monday’s Game 4. “It hurt a lot,” he said. “Part of the game.”
  • Coach Tom Thibodeau has made a significant lineup change in this series, Popper adds, using Josh Hart as a starter to match up with Jimmy Butler and bringing Quentin Grimes off the bench. Popper notes that Grimes saw crunch-time minutes in Game 2 in place of Barrett. “I think as games wind down, a lot of it is going to be matchup-driven,” Thibodeau explained. “What are you trying to get to? And that’s the thing. When you factor in Kyle (Lowry) and the thing he does, particularly with Jimmy, there’s a lot of things going on. There are a lot of things going on within the game, so we have to have awareness.”
  • The Knicks’ centers were dominant in the first round, but they haven’t been effective against Adebayo, states Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein combined for two points and eight rebounds Saturday, and Thibodeau used a small-ball lineup for much of the fourth quarter with power forwards Randle and Obi Toppin playing together.

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Randle, Toppin, Grimes

Jalen Brunson has transformed the Knicks since joining them in free agency, but he felt he let the team down in Game 1 of the second round, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Brunson called his performance “horrific” after he missed all seven of his three-point shots in Sunday’s loss to Miami.

“I think inside the three-point line I was pretty efficient,” Brunson said. “Outside the three-point line, I was terrible. They’re a good team, great defense, well coached, experience, so you got to give them the credit, but for me I have to be better.”

Friedell notes that the other Knicks weren’t much better from long distance as they shot 7-for-34 as a team and missed numerous open opportunities that might have changed the course of the game. Brunson acknowledged the poor shooting, but he says that can’t be allowed to set the tone for the rest of the series.

“We can’t be discouraged,” he said. “Playing in the NBA, a lot of it’s all confidence, and you got to stay confident, you got to stay poised and you got to stick together as a team. We just got to come back hungry, be better, fix our mistakes and move forward from there.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Julius Randle sat out Sunday’s game with a left ankle sprain that he suffered in the first round, but the Knicks are optimistic that he’ll be ready soon, Friedell adds. Randle was considered questionable for Game 1 and went through a pregame workout, but doctors decided he wasn’t able to play. “I don’t know how close (he was),” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I know he worked out before, I just trust him and the medical staff to make that decision. So if he could go — I planned both ways, I planned with him going and planned if he didn’t go. Once they make a decision, that’s it and you live with it and you get ready with what you have. And so we have more than enough.”
  • Obi Toppin replaced Randle and had a strong outing in his first playoff start with 18 points in 31 minutes, notes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Toppin wasn’t sure of his status until the decision was made on Randle, but he was prepared to be in the starting lineup. “We didn’t know exactly how Ju was feeling. So, like, in my head, I thought I was starting the whole time,” Toppin said. “But yeah, like I always say, the approach that I take going into every game is the same.”
  • Quentin Grimes played 10 minutes on Sunday after missing the last two games of the first-round series with a shoulder contusion, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “I don’t think I lost anything. My legs could still work, so I was still doing my conditioning and stuff like that,” Grimes said. “So I’m all good right now.”

Knicks Notes: Toppin, Randle, Grimes, Robinson, Brunson

Julius Randle‘s uncertain status for Sunday’s series opener against Miami may result in the first career playoff start for Obi Toppin, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Randle is listed as questionable after reinjuring his left ankle Wednesday, and he wasn’t able to participate in Saturday’s practice, according to Botte.

Randle suffered the injury late in the second quarter of the Knicks’ close-out win against the Cavaliers, and Toppin took his place in the starting lineup for the beginning of the second half. Toppin has only started 15 games in his three NBA seasons, but he feels ready for the assignment after seeing increased playing time following Randle’s first ankle injury.

“We are preparing exactly the same,” Toppin said. “Everybody, we are all going to do the same exact thing whether Julius plays or he doesn’t play. We don’t know exactly what his status is right now. But whatever the coaches need all of us to do … I feel like we understand and know what to do once we get out on the floor.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Quentin Grimes is also listed as questionable with a right shoulder contusion, but coach Tom Thibodeau said Grimes should be able to play Sunday as long as there are no late setbacks, tweets Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.
  • Mitchell Robinson dominated the paint in the first-round series against Cleveland, but that will be harder to do against Miami, states Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Robinson will be matched up with Bam Adebayo, who often steps out of the lane to initiate the team’s offense. Braziller notes that Robinson averaged just 4.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in three regular season games against the Heat.
  • Along with his outstanding play, Jalen Brunson‘s demeanor has played a role in the Knicks’ turnaround, per Steve Popper of Newsday. As the son of an NBA player, Brunson has been familiar with the league from a young age and he’s been able to share a sense of calmness with his teammates. “He is very composed,” Josh Hart said. “He is never rushed, never rattled. Very poised. He’s able to get his own shot and also get other guys involved. He’s able to just control the game and that’s what you want out of the point guard. You guys see in late-game situations Jalen will take over the game, knock down big free throws. He does all those kind of things. So that’s what you want in a point guard. That’s what you want in a leader. That’s what you want from one of the stars on the team and he does it on a nightly basis.”

Knicks Notes: Towns, Randle, Grimes, Hart

The Knicks are expected to be aggressive in trying to add talent this summer and could be a leading contender if the Timberwolves decide to trade Karl-Anthony Towns, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy. A league source told Deveney that Towns would have interest in going to New York and speculated that it’s just a matter of time before the Knicks try to make it happen.

Deveney points out that Towns already has ties to the organization in team president Leon Rose, who is his former agent, and head coach Tom Thibodeau, who coached Towns for two and a half seasons in Minnesota. The Wolves’ early playoff exit, combined with New York’s surge into the Eastern Conference semifinals, creates even more motivation for the move to happen, Deveney adds.

Towns has one more season before his four-year, $224MM super-max extension kicks in, which will place a tremendous strain on the Wolves’ finances. Trading him might be the best option for avoiding the strictest provisions of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

“No matter the success this year, the Knicks are going to keep being aggressive,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “So you’d want to start with RJ Barrett there. But you can send (Obi) Toppin, you can send (Quentin) Grimes, (Miles) McBride. They do not want to trade (Immanuel) Quickley but if the target is Towns, maybe they would change that. You’d play Towns at the 5 if you were New York so they’d probably have Mitchell Robinson in the deal, and he could go to a third team. A lot of possibilities and Minnesota might be a better team by putting it all on (Anthony) Edwards and getting the right pieces from that mix.”

There’s more from New York:

  • No timetable has been set for a return by Julius Randle, who reinjured his left ankle in Wednesday’s game, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Thibodeau said Randle was limited in Friday’s practice to shooting, lifting weights and doing cardio work in the pool. He’s considered day-to-day ahead of the start of New York’s second-round series with Miami on Sunday afternoon.
  • Grimes, who missed the past two games with a right shoulder contusion, is optimistic that he’ll be ready for the series opener (video link from SNY.tv).
  • The Knicks and Heat have been through some legendary playoff battles, but Josh Hart said that won’t have any effect this year’s series (video link). “It was 23, 27 years ago,” Hart told reporters. “Most of our guys weren’t even born yet. For us, those are the war stories of the past. We’ve got our own path.”

Knicks’ Julius Randle Re-Sprains Left Ankle In Game 5

Forward Julius Randle missed the final five games of the regular season following a left ankle sprain. Unfortunately, he re-sprained the same ankle in Wednesday’s Game 5 against Cleveland, the Knicks announced (via Twitter).

Randle appeared to be in considerable pain after landing on Caris LeVert‘s foot with 1:17 remaining in the first half, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday. A couple trainers assisted Randle when he first got back up, but he was able to limp to the locker room on his own, notes Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Third-year forward Obi Toppin started the second half in Randle’s place. The Knicks currently lead by 12 at the end of the third quarter, and a victory would clinch the first-round series.

Randle earned his second All-Star nod in 2022/23, averaging 25.1 PPG, 10.0 RPG, and 4.1 APG on .459/.343/.757 shooting in 77 games (35.5 MPG). He said he wasn’t feeling the effects of the initial sprain after Game 1, but he averaged just 14.8 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.3 APG and 1.0 SPG on .323/.258/.643 shooting through the first four games of the series (31.8 MPG).

According to Popper, Randle returned to the bench in street clothes, so he will be out for at least the rest of Game 5 (Twitter link). The 28-year-old had a productive half, recording 13 points, six assists and four rebounds in 16 minutes.

In other health-related news for the Knicks, guard Quentin Grimes missed his second straight game with a right shoulder contusion (Twitter link via the team). As Katz observes (via Twitter), Grimes was considered a game-time decision, but he didn’t go through pre-game warmups, indicating that he would be ruled out.

Trade deadline addition Josh Hart, who has been terrific for the Knicks since they acquired him from Portland, started his second straight game in place of Grimes.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Grimes, Hartenstein, Horford

It remains unclear whether or not the Sixers will have Joel Embiid for the start of their second round playoff series but he’ll wear a brace around his right knee if he plays, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The superstar center is nursing a sprained lateral collateral ligament and didn’t practice on Tuesday.

“There really isn’t any update yet,” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said. “We won’t know anything for at least another couple of days probably before we can move forward.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks guard Quentin Grimes is questionable to play in Game 5 on Wednesday due to a right shoulder contusion, the team’s PR department tweets. The 2021 first-round pick is averaging just 3.7 points in the series against Cleveland.
  • The Knicks are one win away from their first series victory in 10 years. With New York leading 3-1, center Isaiah Hartenstein says the team can’t get complacent and allow the Cavs to rally back in the series, Peter Botte of the New York Post writes.  “I was telling the guys before, we still have one more game to go,” he said. “And I think even if it’s 3-1, I’ve seen a lot of teams come back from that. So you have to approach it the same way. Take it game by game.”
  • The Celtics are once again showing a burning desire to reach the Finals for the second straight season, Israel Gutierrez of ESPN writes. They feel a renewed sense of purpose in the playoffs. “Early in the year [the Finals defeat] was fuel, it really got us going,” big man Al Horford said. “We kind of got away from it a little bit. But now that we’re in the playoffs, we’re not addressing it as a group, but when we talk about it individually, it’s something that’s still there.”