‘I know who I am’

PHOENIX — Quentin Grimes logged nearly as many minutes Sunday as he previously had all season, and that was probably the best news of the day for the Knicks to come out of their 116-95 loss to the Suns.

Grimes, who’d been limited to 43 minutes over six appearances due to lingering foot soreness since the start of training camp, started in place of Cam Reddish (groin) and scored 10 points with a career-high eight assists and five rebounds in 32. minutes.

With Reddish starting the previous eight games at shooting guard, both Grimes and veteran Evan Fournier had been left out of coach Tom Thibodeau’s wing rotation in recent games.

“It’s been tough, just knowing the expectation I’ve had for myself coming in [to this season], and just trying to deal with the foot and just trying to maintain and stay mentally strong and be professional and do whatever Coach asks of me and stay ready,” Grimes said after Sunday’s game. That’s what I’ve had to do to approach coming into today.

“I don’t think I ever thought I blew [my chance]. I know who I am and the way Thibs feel about me, and the organization. I just had to wait for my opportunity, and it was gonna come. … You gotta be ready for the opportunity when it comes, and I feel like it came today and I made the most of it.”

Quentin Grimes shoots the ball against the Suns on Sunday.
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Grimes, the 25th-overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Houston, has often been praised by Thibodeau for his ability as a perimeter defender. But every time the second-year guard appeared ready to rejoin the rotation, he suffered another setback.

Grimes added that his foot has felt good “for a couple of weeks” and is “pretty much back to 100 percent.”

Asked to assess Grimes’ game on Sunday, Thibodeau said, “All-around play, I thought. Defensively strong, a lot of pop to his game, good playmaking, hit the open man, created a lot of good situations for us.”

The 22-year-old Grimes started alongside Jalen Brunson, who scored a team-high 27 points in Sunday’s loss, in the backcourt for the second time this season. He’d also done so on Nov. 4 in Philadelphia before the foot soreness resurfaced and sidelined him again.

“Quentin played well, he always gives energy,” Brunson said. He’s always playing the right way. He’s always doing what he does. Nothing out of the ordinary. He’s very capable of having these types of games. So I’m happy to see him healthy and doing well.”

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