Derrick Rose didn’t begin Wednesday night time for the Knicks. If you need to decipher any which means out of that, knock your self out. You is not going to get wherever.
To say that Rose got here off the bench in Game 2 of the Knicks-Hawks playoff sequence is factually correct and spiritually irrelevant. He is the level guard, pure and easy, as it seems as if coach Tom Thibodeau goes to journey Rose’s 32-year-old legs as lengthy as the Knicks have the basketballs out in the postseason.
Rose performed 39 minutes, scored a team-high 26 factors and is popping again the clock simply as the Knicks want him to regain his youthful stamina. Without him, the Knicks don’t mount a comeback to beat the Hawks 101-92 to even their playoff sequence.
“I’m good, man,’’ Rose mentioned of his prolonged workload. “I prep myself for this. I’ve been working my butt off for a few years now, get my physique proper, deal with myself fairly good. I don’t need to say an excessive amount of about that. Don’t need to jinx myself. I’m good.’’
Not unhealthy for a man who doesn’t begin. Not technically, that’s.
Elfrid Payton, after a dismal sequence opener — and, actually, a dismal few last few months of the season — retained his spot in the beginning lineup, a lot to the chagrin of the throaty Garden crowd, as Payton was booed lustily when he was introduced throughout pregame introductions.
What the heck did Payton do in the first recreation to warrant retaining his spot in the lineup?
“You have a look at the recreation, you have a look at what’s occurring, it’s a two-point recreation and it comes all the way down to a free ball,’’ Thibodeau mentioned of Game 1. “So get on the market, get the job accomplished, play protection, run the group. We’re going to make use of everybody.’’
It stays to be seen if Thibodeau opts to make use of Payton once more. He had one level and missed each his pictures from the flooring earlier than he was pulled with 6:57 remaining in the first quarter, with the Knicks trailing 14-7. Payton by no means hit the courtroom once more.
When the second half began, Rose was on the market with the beginning lineup.
“We simply felt we had been flat and we wanted a jolt of vitality,’’ Thibodeau mentioned.
“I simply needed to alter it up. I believed we needed to do one thing totally different and that’s why you could have a bench.’’
Without Rose, the Knicks would have been in a deeper gap than the 57-44 deficit they took into halftime. He led the Knicks with 14 factors and was doing all he might to offset the scoring woes of Julius Randle, who missed all six of his pictures in the first half and had simply two factors.
Rose hit a step-back late in the third quarter to drag the Knicks inside 76-73 after which lastly obtained a respite early in the fourth quarter, with Thibodeau not desirous to empty the tank on the veteran for the stretch run. The second unit obtained the lead and Rose then made certain it caught. His one-hander from the lane broke a 91-91 tie, placing the Knicks forward 93-91 with 4:46 left, a lead they might by no means relinquish.
“Last recreation we felt like we weren’t in tune the means we had been purported to,’’ Rose mentioned. “I do know personally I felt that means, and coming in, I needed to play with depth and simply attempt to play as arduous as I might and observe my teammates. I felt like I performed sluggish final recreation. To get the win at the finish after going via every thing we went via in the recreation, preventing, scratching and clawing to get there, taking part in in opposition to an amazing younger group. So to get that far and play the means that we performed, to come back again and get the lead, to win, it reveals battle. People stepped up and made large performs.’’
Rose didn’t shoot particularly nicely — 9 of 21 — however he was keen to take pictures, at instances nearly forcing the challenge when his teammates had been hesitant.
Thibodeau additionally broke his common rotation by protecting middle Taj Gibson on the courtroom for half-hour, and was rewarded when Gibson was energetic on the boards (seven rebounds) and scored six factors. The Knicks had been plus-23 when Gibson was in the recreation.
“Both [Rose] and Taj have been in a number of playoff games,’’ Thibodeau said. “I think they understand it. We have some guys that haven’t played playoff games. They’ll get better as we go. There’s only one way to get playoff experience, and you gotta get it. Each game I think they’ll get better. I think you learn from each game, each situation. But I think the fact that those guys have been in big games before is a big plus for our team.”