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Reggie Bullock has become indispensable contributor for Knicks

Knicks forward Reggie Bullock (25) takes the ball

Knicks forward Reggie Bullock (25) takes the ball away from Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier in the final seconds of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 18, 2021. Credit: AP/Adam Hunger

While the Knicks wait for their injured or ill backcourt players to return to action, Reggie Bullock has managed to serve as a regular contributor. He is unheralded but there almost every night.

Bullock has started more games than anyone other than the Knicks two mainstays, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. But sometimes it takes a play like the game-winning steal Thursday to get him noticed.

"He’s huge," Randle said. "I talk to Reg all the time just about how much he means to this team as far as obviously his defensive capability. He guards the best perimeter player every game, and that’s not an easy task. And then with his shooting capability and him being to space the floor.

"Any time he’s open or somebody passes to him, I want him shooting the ball because I believe it’s going in every time he shoots it. And he works hard at it, so Reggie’s huge for this team, he brings a lot of different things to help us win games."

Since the All-Star break, Bullock entered Sunday averaging 14.6 points in nearly 33 minutes per game. Alec Burks has added 16.8 points in 30 minutes per game.

"There’s a lot of intangibles with both guys," Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Both guys are starters. Alec can handle the point, can play off the dribble, can shoot the three. Reggie is more catch-and-shoot and a great defender. He always gets the assignment of the toughest opponent’s wing and he’s handled that extremely well for us. And he moved well without the ball. He’s got great chemistry with Julius. Both guys are selfless. They just want to help the team win. They read the game extremely well and that’s what you need to win."

Rose remains sidelined

Derrick Rose remained sidelined Sunday for an eighth straight game as he progresses through the NBA’s health and safety protocol process. The Knicks have not revealed whether Rose tested positive for COVID-19 due to HIPAA regulations, requiring the player’s permission to disclose the information, but Thibodeau did say earlier in the week that Rose was feeling better.

He was on the bench with the team Thursday, but remains sidelined while working through the requirements for game clearance — most likely fulfilling the workout restrictions and clearing cardio testing.

"Just go day-by-day. Talk to the medical people, talk to Derrick," Thibodeau said. "That’s the way we’re approaching it. So when he’s ready, he’s ready."

New York Sports