The Knicks played an entire game Monday night not knowing the whereabouts of their starting point guard, Derrick Rose.
Rose, who was at the team’s morning shootaround, did not show up for the Knicks’ 110-96 loss to New Orleans at Madison Square Garden. Center Joakim Noah was able to reach him after the game. He said Rose was OK but did not elaborate on the extent of their communication.
“I don’t really want to talk too much about it because I don’t know what the situation is,” Noah said. “I’m just happy that everything is OK.”
When coach Jeff Hornacek met with the media a little more than 90 minutes before tipoff, he said all of his starters were healthy, present and ready to play. The only player who wasn’t expected to be in uniform was Mindaugas Kuzminskas, who was suffering from stomach flu.
Then, seconds before the start of the national anthem, the team announced that Brandon Jennings would be starting and that Rose was not with the team.
Jennings said he knew nothing about Rose’s absence until 40 minutes before the game. He had not heard from Rose after the game and apparently did not know that Noah had reached him.
“I just don’t know anything,” Jennings said. “I’m concerned. It’s a situation I’ve never been in. I hope everything is all right. He’s a big part of this team — our starting point guard.”
Jennings said the worry over Rose’s no-show definitely impacted the team on the floor.
“I think it did a lot,” he said. “Just the fact we didn’t hear anything and we still don’t know anything. A guy like Derrick is such a good guy. I just want to make sure everything is all right.”
It was unclear after the game whether Hornacek had talked to Rose. “Right now, we don’t have information to give you anything,” he said. “That’s just going to have to wait until we hear from Derrick himself.”
Hornacek would not answer a direct question about whe ther he had spoken with Rose. He then said: “Everything will become clear later on. We want to respect what he’s going through.”
Rose’s agent, B.J. Armstrong, did not return texts inquiring about Rose’s whereabouts.
His absence was the scariest news Monday night at the Garden, but that wasn’t all that was worrisome.
The bad news continued to pile up for the Knicks when the game began. Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, who scored 40 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in 29 minutes during the first three quarters, scored at will, and the Knicks’ frustrations mounted.
With the Knicks down by 19 points, Carmelo Anthony was ejec ted with 2:35 left in the third quarter after getting two technical fouls for arguing a non-call. It was Anthony’s third ejection of the season.
Then Kyle O’Quinn was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul of Davis with 1:16 left in the quarter. Davis was hit so hard by O’Quinn that he flew into the stands, landing about three rows in. Davis left for the locker room and did not return for the fourth quarter, although the fact that his team had a 25-point lead might have had something to do with it.
The Knicks (17-21), who lost for the eighth time in their last nine games and 11th time in the last 14, were booed periodically throughout the second half. Jennings led all Knicks scorers with 20 points and Anthony added 18.