The Mavericks have a couple of second-generation players on the roster – Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson.

Both of their fathers had great NBA careers.

New York coach Tom Thibodeau has known both players for some time, and in particular has a fond memory of Brunson from about 20 years ago.

At the time, Thibodeau was an assistant coach with the Knicks who had Allen Houston and Latrell Sprewell as their top players.

Jalen’s dad, Rick Brunson, was early in his NBA career and had a couple of seasons with the Knicks coinciding with Thibodeau.

“When I think of Jalen, I think of the little kid that used to come to practice,” Thibodeau said. “He could imitate Allen Houston and Latrell Sprewell. He was about 6 years old.

“And just to follow his career and what he’s done. It’s not surprising.”

Thibodeau also was head coach of the Bulls when Jalen Brunson was a high school star in suburban Chicago.

“Obviously, I saw the things he did there and then continued on at Villanova and now in the pros,” Thibodeau said. “Honestly, his father (was) similar. He was a high-school All-American, great career at Temple and carved out his niche in the NBA.

“And Jalen’s a much better player than his father. But it’s a great story. His mom has done a great job. It’s a wonderful family.”

Thibodeau reflected for a second and then said: “That’s a reminder that you’re getting old when you start seeing the kids (in the league).”

Hey, at least he hasn’t coached any grandkids.


COVID-19 update: The Mavericks remained without Kristaps Porzingis and Jason Kidd on Wednesday against New York.

Thursday will be the 10th day since Porzingis entered the COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

“I’m not really too sure,” acting coach Sean Sweeney said when asked if there was a chance Porzingis could join the team in Memphis for Friday’s game. “Just whenever the information comes back that he’s ready to play and go from there.”

As for Kidd, Sweeney said the virus is running its course.

“He’s feeling good, symptoms are dissipating as we go,” Sweeney said. “He’s doing good. He’s still trying to help us all out and make sure we’re not all out here by ourselves. He’s done a great job with it.”

The Mavericks reman without Willie Cauley-Stein, who remains on personal leave.

Defensive grit vs. stars: It hasn’t worked in every game lately, but a lot of times recently, the Mavericks have done a commendable job of defending the other team’s stars.

Against Chicago last week, one of the Bulls’ leading scorers Zach LaVine was limited to 20 points on 7-of-21 shooting.

Two games before that, Steph Curry shot 5-of-24 and scored just 14 points.

It hasn’t been that way for every star player. Denver’s Nikola Jokic went off for a big game against the Mavericks, who nevertheless blew out the Nuggets.

But the point is that the Mavericks clearly have made it a point to make life as tough as possible for opposing stars.

That’s not a revolutionary concept. But being able to do it on a regular basis is.

“The big thing that coach Kidd always tries to stress is making sure we make it difficult on them,” Sweeney said. “There are certain things we will be willing to live with. And we want to try as best we can to make those dominant players have to work to score.

“Sometimes, it’s gone well. As of late, it’s been going pretty good. Coach is big on that, trying to make sure guys are locked in on what those players are trying to do and what we would like them to do.

Briefly: The Mavericks have seven former Knicks on their team, five of whom were at Madison Square Garden Wednesday. Two were back in Dallas: head coach Jason Kidd and Kristaps Porzingis, both of whom remained in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The other former Knicks with the Mavericks are Tim Hardaway Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Trey Burke, Reggie Bullock and Theo Pinson . . . The Mavericks started a stretch of four games in six days. They are at Memphis on Friday before returning home to play Orlando on Saturday in a back-to-back situation. That game begins a five-game home stand.

Twitter: @ESefko

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