Derrick Rose’s first signature moment at the Garden came off a broken play, a missed shot and a rebound that left him in an isolation with the shot clock running out and crowd waiting to explode.
The point guard with a long injury history, an ugly medical sheet with shredded knees, dribbled toward defender Maurice Harkless, stepped back in the rhythm he’d been honing in practice, and nailed the jumper with 6.8 seconds remaining to secure a 107-103 victory over the Trail Blazers.
It was Rose’s first jumper of the game, and the biggest bucket of his short Knicks career.
“I finally shot the ball up. It’s all legs, man. That’s what I mean. Like your whole life you’re used to a 1-2 rhythm. You have one injury, and that kind of resets everything. Let alone you have three, and you’ve got to find your 1-2, how high you want you jump on your shot, how high you want to jump on your threes,” said a reflective Rose. “I missed preseason. All those little things count. Like, this entire time, these three or four years, I’m playing catch-up.”
Rose’s play down the stretch– which included eight points and four assists in the final 11 minutes – punctuated an offensive explosion Tuesday from Kristaps Porzingis, who continued his ascension to stardom with 31 points and nine boards.
Derrick Rose comes through in the clutch for the Knicks.
(Al Bello/General Mills via Getty Images)
But the Knicks (7-7) needed Rose on Sunday to win for the fifth straight time at home and climb back to .500 for the first time since the second game of the season. He wasn’t MVP Rose – and there seemed to be an acknowledgement Sunday that player is irrecoverable – but he still took an effective and explosive form.
“That vintage (Rose) is gone, man. I told you the question should be: Can I hoop? I can hoop,” he said. “It shouldn’t be like he’s playing like his old self. Like, if I can hoop, I can hoop, no matter if I did that when I was younger or now. I can play the game of basketball.”
Carmelo Anthony, who is hosting Rose for Thanksgiving, needed the boost from his point guard on a night he struggled while missing 15 of his 22 attempts. In the fourth quarter Rose outplayed Dame Lillard, the Portland All-Star, who threw away his team’s chance to tie with 53 seconds remaining on an errant pass.
On the following possession, Rose missed a runner, took back possession after Anthony’s offensive rebound, and buried the stepback with one second left on the shot clock.
Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks are now back to .500.
“He was aggressive,” said Anthony. “That’s the Derrick, I want, and I need and we all fell in love with. He was very aggressive on the offensive end. Even though he was in foul trouble, he didn’t let that hinder his game. He was good. For him to come back and make the big plays offensively that he did, that goes to show you much as a team we’re growing and he’s growing and feeling more comfortable with that.
Porzingis, meanwhile, roasted the Blazers (8-8) in all sorts of ways – inside, outside, right hand, off-hand, off-the-dribble. On one play in the second quarter, the 21-year-old drove to his left and slammed all over Portland center Mason Plumlee. On another possession in the fourth, Plumlee was fooled into thinking he got a stop on Porzingis after blocking his shot – only for the Latvian to get the rebound and drain the jumper.
He said revenge was on his mind after going scoreless last season in Portland.
“I had 0 points, the worst game of my last season (in Portland),” Porzingis said. ‘So I wanted to come out aggressive and my teammates knew, I talked to Brandon (Jennings) and he knew I had a 0-game last season against them so he told me he was going to get me involved and he found me out there.”
Jennings contributed 11 assists off the bench, and might’ve played down the stretch instead of Rose if not for his cramps that started the third quarter. So Rose got the opportunity and seized it.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News