NY Knicks: Derrick Rose proves he can be x-factor in win over Pelicans

Derrick Rose, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
Derrick Rose, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports /

The NY Knicks hung on in one of the season’s most exciting games thanks to some late-game heroics from a few players, including 32-year-old guard Derrick Rose.

Heading into Sunday, The Knicks were feeling good about themselves on a 5-game winning streak heading into the first of a 6-game homestand. The energy is up, there doesn’t appear to be minor injuries popping up like there were just a few weeks ago, and the team has been closing out close games. They did exactly that against Zion Williamson and The Pelicans.

The game was competitive from the start and the Knicks caught fire in the 2nd quarter, outscoring the Pelicans 36-19. Then, the dreaded 3rd quarter came along. In a quarter where the NY Knicks average the 3rd fewest points per game in the NBA, they were outscored 35-22. What seemed like a game where The Knicks were in control, suddenly slipped into a contest where they were playing catch-up. The 3rd quarter was once again a long stretch where the starters couldn’t buy a basket until the bench stepped up.

NY Knicks: Derrick Rose will be a vital player down the stretch

The NY Knicks have had their bench come in and take over games a few times this season, and here we are again where almost the entire bench ended the game as a net positive. Immanuel Quickley was a +24, Derrick Rose a +22.

It was a thrilling Zion Williamson vs. Julius Randle duel all day long, but the Knicks don’t win this game without Derrick Rose down the stretch. Rose had 12 of his 23 points in the 4th quarter and overtime, including 5 points in the last 2:02 minutes of the 4th and the assist to Reggie Bullock for the game-tying shot. After Bullock’s shot, Rose clamped down on Eric Bledsoe and blocked his shot to send the game to overtime.

I wrote about how The Knicks need big performances from their complementary players earlier in the week. Derrick Rose has proven time and time again that when he plays well, The NY Knicks’ chances of winning go up astronomically. From Cleaning the Glass, Derrick Rose’s efficiency differential wins-added is a whopping +21.

The NY Knicks with Derrick Rose On The Court:

  • 15-7 Record
  • +8.9 Points Scored Per 100 Possessions
  • -11.2 Points Allowed Per 100 Possessions

Pretty simple, New York is a different team with Derrick Rose on the court. The Knicks made their impact trade when they acquired Rose a few weeks before the deadline.

At this point, there’s no doubting Julius Randle will bring it every single game – It’s the other players who need to step up as secondary scorers. When The Knicks can get big games out of RJ Barrett, Alec Burks, Immanuel Quickley, and Derrick Rose, they can compete with some of the top teams in the East.

Derrick Rose has been a big-time scorer in the NBA for over a decade and he’s been someone The Knicks have leaned on for scoring outbursts in key situations. He may come off of the bench, but Thibodeau will play him down the stretch as he did on Sunday.

Averaging over 13 points and 4 assists per game, Derrick Rose has been an instant-offense type of player that The Knicks can rely on. The team would certainly be lower in the standings without him. Come playoff time, they’ll need him to continue to be the x-factor that can lift them out of offensive funks.

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