When Jalen Brunson played Sunday night despite a quadriceps issue, it kept intact an odd Knicks achievement through the first 20 games.
Though the Knicks have had injuries, their top three players — Brunson, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett — have managed to play in every game.
“I think dependability is a big thing in this league,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “To be able to count on people to play, count on each other throughout, it’s a plus. Guys are doing a good job taking care of each other, our medical people are doing a good job. It all factors into it.”
The Grizzlies were missing Desmond Bane and Ziaire Williams.
In the third quarter, Immanuel Quickley was isolated defensively against Ja Morant in the corner. As Morant went by him, Quickley immediately came down limping badly on his right leg and headed straight to the Knicks’ bench while Morant went to the rim for an acrobatic reverse layup.
Quickley left and was ruled out for the remainder of the game with what the Knicks called a sore right knee.
Barrett scored 22 points in the Knicks’ 127-123 loss to the Grizzlies. While his shooting has been the subject of criticism and head-shaking, he has gone through those stretches before and recovered, never losing his confidence.
Barrett struggles with finding teammates when he puts his head down and plows to the rim, but Thibodeau thinks that will come.
“I just think the big thing is head on the rim, eyes to the perimeter,” he said. “Know personnel. Are they a team that does collapse? And when the second or third defender comes, if your eyes go to the perimeter, you’re going to find the open man. I think with experience, you learn that more and more as you go. I think he’ll get there.”