Knicks Update Status of Jalen Brunson, OG Anunoby for Game 3

OG Anunoby

Getty OG Anunoby driving to the basket during Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers on May 6.

Another game, another set of injuries for the New York Knicks. They’ll be without OG Anunoby for at least Game 3, and Jalen Brunson‘s status is yet to be determined.

In the final injury report of the day on May 9, the Knicks listed Anunoby as OUT for Game 3 with a “left hamstring strain.” Brunson is listed as questionable with “right foot soreness.”

Anunoby left Game 2 in the third quarter on May 8 after a drive to the basket.

Brunson had already left Game 2 in the first quarter after misstepping on his right foot.

But he returned for the second half, and scored 24 points to lead the Knicks to a win.

Already without all of Bojan Bogdanovic, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson, it’s hard to say how many more hits New York can take.

They’re up 2-0 in their series against the Pacers but will play Games 3 and 4 on the road.

Brunson: ‘I’m All Good’

Jalen Brunson is listed as questionable for Game 3, but his postgame comments on May 8 imply there’s no chance he sits out.

New York’s All-Star was asked postgame about his injury, and his availability for Game 3.

His answer was frank.

“I’m all good,” Brunson told WFUV Sports’ Kris Pursiainen on May 8. “And that’s it.”

With another absence in the rotation in OG Anunoby, Brunson has never been more vital to the New York Knicks’ title hopes.

Thibs’ Thin Rotation Takes Another Hit

Head coach Tom Thibodeau‘s rotation was already slimmed to seven, before the Anunoby injury.

For six players to split a 240-minute workload, that averages out to at least 40 minutes a game for all parties.

The playoffs are treated with the respect of a do-or-die situation, even by teams with a 2-0 series lead like the Knicks. But playing six guys in the postseason is unheard of.

It’s more likely that Alec Burks will be reintroduced into Thibodeau’s rotation.

The veteran guard averaged 12.6 points over 43 games with the Detroit Pistons before arriving in New York at the trade deadline.

He fell out of the Knicks’ rotation, and averaged just 6.5 points over 23 out of 27 possible regular season appearances.

Now, he’ll get a chance to leave that all behind in an sudden promotion in the playoffs.

Who Will Replace Anunoby?

There’s also the question of who will replace OG Anunoby in the starting rotation, with Miles McBride and Precious Achiuwa the only two options within logic.

The only other player who’s touched the floor for New York this postseason is Burks, who played 40 seconds in Game 2.

McBride has more experience in the starting lineup, with 14 starts in the regular season.

But Achiuwa has more experience playing with this iteration of the starting lineup, as a part of Thibodeau’s rotations.

According to Cleaning the Glass, the Knicks’ backup forward has played 367 possessions next to Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart, and Isaiah Hartenstein.

McBride has played 331 possessions.

But the result of those possessions could ultimately sway Thibodeau’s starting decision.

In the 331 possessions with McBride alongside the current starting lineup, New York outscored opponents by 33.1 points per 100 possessions, scored 141.1 points per 100, and allowed just 108 points.

Those rank in the 100th, 100th, and 95th percentiles of all NBA lineups.

The 367 possessions Achiuwa played with the rotation weren’t a net negative, but they were less impressive across the board. The Knicks outscored 6.8 points per 100 possessions, scored 119.3 points per 100, and allowed 112.5.

Those rank in the 84th, 80th, and the 79th percentiles.

It’s hard to see Tom Thibodeau ignoring a lineup that dominated when it took the floor this season. But that was the regular season, and those sample sizes aren’t large.

With the New York Knicks once again scrambling in light of an injury, it’s less about who will start and more about how many players will be available as they take on the Indiana Pacers in Game 3.

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