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No Derrick Rose? Don't Get Comfortable, Knicks

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Just because Chicago might not have Derrick Rose tonight doesn’t mean the Knicks can relax.

No Derrick Rose? Don't Get Comfortable, Knicks

The last time we saw the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks, they were playing one of the more exciting and entertaining NBA games of the season at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, one that the Knicks won 100-99 in overtime.  Carmelo Anthony hit two huge threes for the Knicks, one to send the game to overtime and another that put the Knicks ahead for good.  Derrick Rose had two chances to win it for Chicago, but both missed their marks due to very tight defense by Iman Shumpert and the rest of the Knicks.  

Sunday's game was Rose's first since March 12, and he played well despite shooting just 8-26 from the floor.  Now both teams are getting ready for the rematch tonight, but Rose might not be in the lineup.  He's questionable with an ankle injury.  Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago has more:

Rose was wearing a walking boot early Monday but later was seen without it. He received treatment on the ankle Tuesday morning, but he said there's still some swelling and pain. The Chicago Tribune initially reported Rose's situation.

"It was something I knew was big," Rose said. "(In the fourth quarter) that's why I was walking the ball up the majority of the time. I wasn't running because of the throbbing; I was just trying to win the game and it definitely hurts losing the game . . . That game hurt a lot." [...]

"Right now, every day it's getting better," Rose said. "I got a lot of treatment (Monday), coming back in this morning. Every day, every treatment, it's getting better."

Rose did not think this would keep him out the rest of the regular season.

This is great news for the Knicks, right?  Yes, of course it's great news.  Any time you don't have to go up against the reigning MVP, you're better off.  But the Bulls have done pretty well for themselves this season even without Rose in the lineup.  Chicago is 15-7 when Rose doesn't play, including 8-4 in the last 12-game stretch that Rose was absent.  Because of their tenacious defense, the Bulls have been able to withstand the many injuries to their superstar point guard.

Chicago has also gotten big contributions from unlikely sources.  John Lucas has put up some big numbers in games when Rose has been out.  The diminutive point guard is a volume shooter, and when he gets hot, he can really light it up.  C.J. Watson has given the Knicks problems at times over the last couple of years.  Whoever Rose's replacement is should Rose not play has to be taken just as seriously by Shumpert or whoever gets the assignment.

Also, the Knicks are riding high from Sunday's game.  It was basically a playoff game, and something like that takes a lot out of you.  The Knicks will have to get right back up for this rematch and bring the same kind of intensity and focus that got them the win over the weekend.  

This is a pivotal stretch for the Knicks as they are clinging to a 1.5-game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for a playoff spot.  They've earned back-to-back wins over the Magic and Bulls, and now will play Chicago before a big trip to Milwaukee tomorrow.  If the Knicks want to not only make the playoffs, but show they can make some noise once they get there, they need to bring the heat against these playoff-caliber opponents.  That starts with Chicago tonight, whether Rose is in the lineup or not.

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