CLEVELAND — Friday night, Evan Fournier felt the Knicks took too many quick shots. On Sunday, he was critical of the entire offense when they couldn’t get out in transition.
“We have to do the simple things better: Screening, setting our guys up for the screens, passing on time on target with good spacing,” he said after the Knicks’ 121-108 loss to the Cavaliers inside Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. “Just those easy things can really help us.”
The Knicks held a nine-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but came undone at that point, outscored by 22 the rest of the way. As the game slowed down, the Knicks struggled, settling for poor shots that were contested. They shot just 7 of 20 in that final quarter without a single point in transition. It was very different from the third quarter, when the Knicks outscored the Cavs, 34-22, and did damage in the open court, scoring 14 fast-break points.
“It’s always interesting to see how the defense helps the offense,” said Fournier, who scored 16 points. “I thought we got stops, we ran, we got easy buckets, and from there you just start building confidence. The key for us I think is going to be half-court offense.”
Derrick Rose’s playing time has been limited through six games. He is averaging just 13 minutes after seeing 14 minutes of action on Sunday and scoring seven points. Rose appeared in just 26 games last year due to multiple ankle surgeries. The addition of Jalen Brunson has relegated him to infrequent action so far. Immanuel Quickley is often the first guard off the bench, but Rose is a favorite of coach Tom Thibodeau, and the coach expects him to be a vital part of the team.
“We’re still early in the season. We want to see how everything unfolds,” Thibodeau said. “I like where he is. He missed some time, so he’s still working his way through things.”
Thibodeau declined to weigh in with his thoughts regarding the offseason trade talks between the Knicks and Jazz regarding Donovan Mitchell. He wouldn’t say if he ever thought Mitchell would wind up with his hometown team.
“You already know the answer to that,” he said. “We don’t deal with hypotheticals.”
Quentin Grimes (sore left foot) remained out. The Knicks have classified the injury as day-to-day for weeks, and Thibodeau has continued to say the second-year guard is improving, but he has still yet to practice fully since aggravating the foot in the Knicks’ final preseason game. Grimes first felt discomfort the first practice of training camp. His absence has opened up a spot on the second unit for Cam Reddish, who has contributed.
This story originally appeared on NYPost