New York Knicks: 3 Adjustments to make before Game 2

Frank Ntilikina, Trae Young, New York Knicks. (Photo by Seth Wenig - Pool/Getty Images)
Frank Ntilikina, Trae Young, New York Knicks. (Photo by Seth Wenig - Pool/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
New York Knicks
Derrick Rose, New York Knicks. (Photo by Seth Wenig – Pool/Getty Images) /

New York Knicks: Lean on playoff veterans

RJ Barrett and the rookies had their moments, but the two best Knicks on the court last night were easily Alec Burks and Derrick Rose. They kept the game close after falling in an early double-digit hole before nearly pulling out a win with some incredible shot-making.

Burks finished with 27 points on 9-13 shooting while Rose recorded 17 points and 5 assists on 8-16 shooting.

It seemed like the starting lineup was a little bit caught up in the moment, as they never really settled down and got into a rhythm amid the deafening New York crowd. This was the first career playoff game for Barrett, Julius Randle, and Elfrid Payton. Reggie Bullock had only appeared in 4 previous postseason games as a reserve, averaging a measly 6.8 minutes in those contests.

On the other hand, Burks and Rose both have postseason experience, appearing in 63 combined playoff games before this year. It made sense that they adjusted to the intense environment almost seamlessly.

Thibodeau gave them more than enough time, as Rose played 38 minutes and Burks played 26. However, it would make sense to try and stagger their minutes. The 2021 Coach of the Year finalist has experimented with Burks at point guard and it has worked to perfection this season, including down the stretch of the 4th quarter.

It would make sense to distribute their minutes so that one of them is on the floor at almost all times, providing a steady presence and help guide the Knicks who are much less experienced with playoff basketball.