Rose, Knicks Shine in Victory Against the Bulls
Rose and Noah’s nostalgic reunion was successful as the Knicks picked up their second win of the season
Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah played a combined 16 seasons for the Chicago Bulls. But, in some circumstances or another, both find themselves on the New York Knicks–with a fresh start for their respective careers. Although Rose was a hometown product for the Bulls, he heard boos (and cheers) when announced in the starting lineup.
With 25 seconds remaining, and a win almost assured in a mostly contested game, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek subbed out the former Bulls and ESPN caught the two jovially pushing each others’ chests as they returned to their bench, the visiting team’s sideline, a strange site.
The pair of Rose and Noah had to go through a new Chicago-born Bulls star in Dwyane Wade. Wade has been a Knicks-killer his career, averaging north of 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists. The Heat mainstay played fantastically for the Bulls on Friday night, scoring 35 points and largely keeping Chicago afloat until New York pulled away in the last two minutes of the game.
Oddly enough, the Knicks closed out the game with their budding star Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis (4-of-7 from three) picked up his fifth personal foul on the night approximately halfway through the final period while carrying the scoring load for New York. Hornacek took the young Latvian out of the game with 27 points and five rebounds.
The Knickerbockers defeated the Bulls, 117–104, improving to 2–3 on the season. Let’s look at some factors of Friday night’s victory:
Sharing the Pie
All five of the Knicks starters finished scoring in double digits. Veteran free agent signee Courtney Lee played a low key solid game, shooting 8-of-10, 17 points, and four assists.
Even the slow to score former Bull Noah got in the action with 16 points and a rebound short of a double-double.
Every starter made strong, positive contributions when the team needed it most. That meant finding Kristaps in a mismatch situation (something Hornacek stressed after Wednesday night’s loss to Houston). The Knicks combined for 32 assists on 48 made field-goals.
In clutch time, the ball bounced between Rose and Carmelo Anthony, both making crucial buckets when Wade, Jimmy Butler et al. attempted a comeback. Anthony scored 25 points, collected seven boards, and dished out four dimes.
Low Turnovers, Good Instincts on Fastbreaks
The Knicks turned the ball over only five times, by far a season low! They protected the ball from pesky invaders like Rajon Rondo, who played unremarkably with his new team and tallied only four points and five assists.
New York and their coronated point guard Rose also looked to push the pace at the right times, like towards the beginning of the match when the Bulls found themselves down 13–3 and Rose probing an already lethargic defense.
Rose also made a swell play at the of the first half, taking the ball nearly the full length of the court, and racing for a challenging underhand layup. Rose, in his hometown debut with a foreign team, played a good game with 15 points, and looked to share the ball more often on Friday with 11 assists, doubling his season’s high.
Moments like Rose’s awareness and good ball movement all around were vital to taking down the revamped Bulls, who troubled the Knicks in the paint. Chicago out-rebounded the ‘Bockers 42–40 and looked for second chance opportunities off offensive rebounds (no insider help from from former Knick Robin Lopez).
When Butler and guys like Nikola Mirotic were giving New York problems, the Knicks bent but they did not break. Friday night seemed like a solid win. There were some difficulties and miscommunications on the defensive end (which looked just like a new team figuring things out early), and the Knicks were able to respond in creative scoring ways when the defense faltered at times.
Hornacek played Rose and Jennings in the backcourt together while Porzingis sat out. Jennings played fine and totaled six points with seven dimes.
Anthony and Kyle are back to evaluate the Knicks through their first few gamestheknickswall.com
The Knicks felt like a team getting the pieces slowly, but surely, back together with nice fastbreaks, scoring from various players, and solid crunch-time playing. Games like this point to a better direction this season, especially when the scary, opposing team fourth quarter comeback was nullified.
Carmelo daggered the Bulls off this cross-court, baseline pass from Rose:
The Knicks head back to the Garden to take on the Utah Jazz and look to get to .500.
Hopefully KP still has enough bullets in his revolver for a duel with the Jazz at high noon.
— Reid Goldsmith, managing editor