"We'll give him as much time as he needs," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said at the team's morning shootaround. "This is a tough thing for him to overcome right now. He is fighting his way through it."
Fred Jones started in Marbury's place and had 16 points, but the Knicks fell behind big early and lost 99-89.
Since his father, Donald Marbury Sr., died a little more than a week ago, Marbury missed last Wednesday's game against the Nets, but then played in the Knicks' two games against the 76ers over the weekend.
In the Knicks' 101-90 loss in Philadelphia on Friday, Marbury appeared for just 13 minutes and scored two points. The next night at Madison Square Garden, in the Knicks' 105-77 loss to the Sixers, Marbury had six points in 24 minutes.
That game was particularly tough, since it came in the last
place his father saw him play.
"During the pregame you could tell that emotionally he was a
wreck," Thomas said. "Sitting in his locker
before the game, then when they did the moment of the silence at
the start of the game. I just think it was too emotional for him.
"I asked him if he really thought that he could do this and if
he wanted to play. He kept insisting that he wanted to and this
would be good for him. At the start of the game I just wished him
luck and told him to go after it."
While watching the Knicks-Suns Dec. 2 game at MSG, Donald Marbury Sr. suffered chest pains and died later that night. Based on the wishes of his family, Stephon was not informed of his father's death until after the conclusion of the Knicks' 115-104 loss.
Thomas and Marbury's teammates attended the funeral for Donald Sr. in Coney Island on Thursday. The next night Marbury returned against the Sixers.
Thomas said it is "possible" that Marbury tried to return to the lineup too soon. Marbury is grieving and caring for family members, which has made playing Monday night an overwhelming task, Thomas said.
"It is just an extremely tough time for him, but it is safe to say it is a combination of all those things," Thomas said.
Marbury did not attend the Knicks' Monday morning shootaround. He also missed a game last month when he left the team
after feuding with Thomas over a move to the bench and is averaging
Andrew Marchand is the Managing Editor of 1050 ESPN New York. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.