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Combo guard Austin Rivers has crept even deeper into Tom Thibodeau’s doghouse.
Even with their top two point guards, Derrick Rose (COVID-19 protocols) and Elfrid Payton (hamstring), missing Tuesday’s blowout 119-93 loss to the Spurs, Rivers was not placed back into the rotation and did not play.
The Post reported Rivers was not on the bench for Saturday’s game after he hinted he could be traded soon, and the Knicks said he was in the locker room getting treatment on his ankle. Thibodeau could have used his veteran savvy Tuesday, but he used only a nine-man rotation for the second straight game.
With Rose out, Frank Ntilikina got the start and Thibodeau placed Kevin Knox back into the mix at small forward. He also had Alec Burks as a shooting guard with some ballhandling duties.
Thibodeau was not expansive on Rivers’ massive demotion that began after the Knicks traded for Rose last month.
“It’s situational,’’ Thibodeau said of Rivers. “He’s got to keep working.’’
Rivers seemed to anger Thibodeau last week when he raised the prospect several times of being traded at any moment.
When asked if Rivers has an injury, Thibodeau confirmed he has “an ankle issue.’’ Nevertheless, Rivers has not been put on the injury report.
Rivers did not go toward the bench during Thibodeau’s huddles. The Sixers were interested in Rivers in the offseason, but new coach Doc Rivers scuttled the idea of adding his son because they went through that once with the Clippers. Rivers is already coaching his son-in-law, Seth Curry.
The Knicks may need a roster spot to sign a center with Mitchell Robinson (hand surgery) and Taj Gibson (sprained ankle) out for an extended time.
Knicks rookie Obi Toppin was officially named to the NBA Slam Dunk contest and will face off Sunday against Anfernee Simons and Cassius Stanley. Julius Randle, already an All-Star, will participate in the Skills Challenge.
In August, legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told The Post Thibodeau was “a seasoned veteran who it goes without saying understands what wins what loses. He knows how to put a program together, create a culture, be demanding.’’
Popovich has proved prescient with the Knicks’ 18-18 record.
“Par for the course, no surprise,’’ Popovich said Tuesday. “He has standards, holds everyone accountable, sticks to it. And you see the results. He’s doing a fine job.”
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