Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau finally obliged with 2:30 left as Rose replaced Immanuel Quickley with 2:30 left in their 99-79 Game 3 victory.
Rose played for only the second time since January after he was removed from the rotation in December last year.
The 34-year-old Rose was appreciative of the crowd’s gesture.
“The guy has been around. He’s been great for us,” Thibodeau said of Rose, the oldest player on the Knicks roster. “Particularly, we’re a very young team. And to have a guy like that around, it’s invaluable.
Rose stayed with the team past the trade deadline even if some other playoff teams showed interest in acquiring him.
Rose has appeared in only 27 games this season, averaging career lows of 5.6 points and 1.7 assists.
“So even though he’s not playing, he’s had a great impact on all our guys,” Thibodeau added. “So that’s great. The best thing about our fans is they have a great appreciation for that, appreciation for all he’s done throughout his career. And it says a lot about Derrick. Whatever role you ask him to play, he embraces it and wants to be great at it. And he’s always cared about the team the most and winning.”
Rose was the youngest MVP in the league at 22 under Thibodeau when they started their NBA careers with the Chicago Bulls. They reunited in Minnesota in 2018 and again in New York two seasons ago during Thibodeau’s first year as the Knicks’ head coach.
He was a catalyst of the Knicks’ playoff run in 2021. But as Thibodeau pivoted to his young core this season, Rose understood and served as a veteran mentor alongside his longtime coach.
A rusty Rose missed all of his four shots, but he gave the crowd something to cheer for during his stint. His alley-oop pass to Obi Toppin served as the exclamation point of the rousing win that gave them a 2-1 series lead.
Jalen Brunson’s Electric Garden Playoff Debut
Jalen Brunson bucked a poor start and finished strong in a sensational Madison Square Garden playoff debut.
He had 13 of his 21 points in the second half as he danced around the Cavaliers’ defense with his floaters and a transition dunk that got the soldout crowd rocking the Garden through its roof.
“This place is unreal. That’s it,” Jalen Brunson said regarding the crowd at Madison Square Garden. “This place, man, it’s unbelievable to play at…I can’t really explain it. I’m just happy they are the way they are.”
Quentin Grimes Suffers Shoulder Injury
Knicks’ starting shooting guard Quentin Grimes did not play in the second half due to a shoulder injury.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after the game it was “just a contusion.”
Grimes’ status for Game 4 on Sunday is still up in the air.
The second-year guard finished with only two points on 1-of-5 shooting in 13 minutes of play in Game 3. The Knicks’ depth mitigated his absence in the second half, with RJ Barrett (19 points), Josh Hart (13 points), and Immanuel Quickley (11 points) scoring in double figures and playing solid defense.