January 21, 2022 | 7:09 am EST Update
New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram did not play in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s 102-91 win over the New York Knicks because of a sprained right ankle. Pelicans head coach Willie Green told reporters after the game that Ingram could not have played in the final 12 minutes and the team will further evaluate him when they get back to New Orleans. There are no plans to do an MRI on Ingram at the moment and they’ll see how his ankle feels when they return home before taking any further steps, sources told ESPN. Cameras showed Ingram seated on the bench in the fourth quarter without a shoe on his right foot.
Thursday’s Knicks-Pelicans game was supposed to be on national television, but was pulled because of Zion Williamson’s season-long absence. It is very good thing, sparing the Knicks and Julius Randle a nationally televised embarrassment as the Pelicans rolled to a 102-91 trouncing before a wave of ferocious boos at the Garden. As the Knicks dropped their third straight, all at home, Randle’s season kept sinking into an abyss in a 1-for-9, four-point train wreck that got him benched. He was unable to do a thing against smaller wings assigned to defend him and was booed the most vociferously. Randle took out his anger on the referees, picking up a technical foul after the first half had ended, then snapping at teammate Evan Fournier who tried to settle him down.
The team said afterward it would not make Randle available to reporters. He hasn’t talked to the media after eight of the last nine games. “It’s easy to say that [about Randle being off-kilter], but it’s really our entire team,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “When things aren’t going our way, Julius is gonna take a lot of blame. He gets a lot of the credit, but that goes with the turf. But it’s a team game, and we didn’t get into it with any one individual. When they’re not going our way, I just want us to be mentally tough and be able to work through it.’’
The Cam Reddish Show is coming soon on Broadway — and it can’t happen fast enough. Coach Tom Thibodeau hinted Reddish could make his Knicks debut as soon as their next game, Sunday at the Garden against the Clippers. One week ago, the Knicks traded Kevin Knox and a conditional first-round pick to the Hawks for Reddish, the former Duke standout selected 10th in the 2019 draft.
The player to suffer most from Reddish’s entry into the rotation could be rookie shooting guard Quentin Grimes, who has become a staple the past month after being taken in the first round. But the Knicks also believe Reddish can play some power forward in a small-ball alignment. That could also affect 2020 lottery pick Obi Toppin. It took some time for Grimes to earn Thibodeau’s trust and now he’s got it. “Just probably getting him indoctrinated into the NBA,’’ Thibodeau said. “We always knew these are things we like about him in the draft. His defense is special. He can guard four positions really well. His shot profile is terrific. He takes the right shot.’’
In his first game as a pro at Madison Square Garden, Alvarado seized the moment. The rookie guard scored 13 points, handed out four assists and came up with four steals off the bench. ￼ The Pelicans beat the Knicks 102-91. Thanks to stingy defense and a dominant third quarter, the Pelicans were able to salvage a three-game road trip with a win. “When we had shootaround, I was like, ‘Wow, damn, I’m at Madison Square Garden about to play,'” Alvarado said. “It was just a great, great feeling. When I seen the fans start coming and people I know and they showing me love, it was just like, ‘All right, I feel it. It was just one of those nights.'”
Clutch Points: “It’s like a dream come true. It’s crazy. I’m at the Garden, I won, and I’m doing the interview with y’all. And my people are right there… You can’t make that up.” An incredible postgame interview with Pelicans two-way player Jose Alvarado 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/t30Gj7fp3g