For the umpteenth time this season, Derrick Rose turned back the clock in Wednesday’s Game 2 against the Atlanta Hawks, leading the New York Knicks to their first playoff win since 2013.
The youngest MVP in NBA history, now 32 years old and in his 12th season, finished the game with 26 points, four rebounds, four assists, and only one turnover in a season-high 38 minutes in regulation.
Following Game One and a lot of taunting from Trae Young, Rose vowed the Knicks would make things tougher for both Atlanta and their point guard in Game Two.
As he has done so many times this season, the veteran guard delivered.
Rose’s contributions off the bench this season earned him a spot as a finalist for the Sixth Man of the Year award.
But in the playoffs so far, he’s been the best player on the New York Knicks.
And it’s not particularly close.
Leaving His Mark on the Game
Prior to tip-off for Game Two, ESPN Insider Kirk Goldsberry wrote a phenomenal piece surrounding the commonly used ‘floater’ and what it means for the future of offenses in the NBA.
Derrick Rose leads the league in efficiency on those shots:
This year, nobody was better at the shot than Rose. The former MVP converted 53.3% of his 108 attempts from an average distance of 10.5 feet. If it weren’t for Young’s dagger in Game 1, we’d still be talking about Rose’s clutch floater on the previous possession to tie the game.
This is the one he put in to tie Game One with just seconds left:
Rose has always been able to score, that much has never wavered. But his versatility this season with the New York Knicks has been arguably the largest reason his presence is such a breath of fresh air.
Because on top of floaters, Rose hit 41 percent of his three-pointers in his 35 regular-season games with the team.
And fewer shots were bigger than his two threes in Game Two, in which of course, he lead the Knicks to victory.
It was his best game in a New York uniform to date.
Rose Talks Game 2
After playing the biggest role in the New York Knicks’ 101-92 win over the Atlanta Hawks, point guard Derrick Rose spoke to reporters about the team’s rebound, and his own performance.
The former MVP displayed a proudness for the team (via the New York Post), who went into halftime down 57-44:
Last game we felt like we weren’t in tune the way we were supposed to. I know personally I felt that way and coming in I wanted to play with intensity and just try to play as hard as I could. I felt like i played sluggish last game. To get the win, everything we went through in the game, fighting, scratching and clawing to get there, playing against a great young team, it shows fight.
Rose replaced Elfrid Payton coming out of halftime as the team’s second-half starter, and it paid off for New York.
When asked about how far he’s come to get to this point in his career, particularly after his career-derailing knee injury back in 2012, he (via SNY) was humble:
I’m just appreciative to be in the league. there’s a lot of guys that are my age, that are a little older, that still feel like they can hoop, there’s younger guys than me who are out of the league and feel they want another opportunity. My job is to play as hard as I can and do it for them guys. I’m very fortunate to be in this position — not only am I in the league, but I’m on a great team. They allow me to come here and play the way that I play. That’s all any player can ask for.
Derrick Rose didn’t necessarily leave the New York Knicks on good terms after his season with the team in 2017.
But his leadership and performance this time around have fans questioning where the team would be without him.
Wednesday’s game should provide them an idea of how far he can lead them.