Derrick Rose inspiring Knicks and "playing with joy"
The New York Knicks completed a resounding comeback against the Milwaukee Bucks and for Derrick Rose, who played a big part it, life is sweet.
Everything seems to be falling into place for Derrick Rose who helped inspire New York Knicks' stunning revival in their 113-98 defeat of defending NBA champions the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. The Knicks were slow coming out of the blocks at Fiserv Forum and trailed 38-19 by the end of the first quarter in Milwaukee.
Randle, Barrett and Rose in double figures
But New York came roaring back, with Julius Randle scoring 32 points and finishing with 12 rebounds, while RJ Barrett had 20 points. Rose was also influential off the bench, putting up 23 points including 10 in a second quarter in which the Knicks outscored the Bucks 37-25, while he drained a crucial three-pointer in the third shortly after a Barrett lay-up had put the visitors in front.
"I'm playing with joy. It ain't happiness, it's joy," Rose said. "I feel happiness is temporary. Joy is everlasting. I've been through a lot. I'm in a great place and I'm on a very talented team. I don't have to score, I don't have to score 30 points. I don't have that burden. I can go out there and play the game and try to affect the game by passing or just pushing the ball. So, I'm in a great place."
After being drafted first by hometown team the Chicago Bulls in 2008, Rose became the youngest MVP in 2011 at the age of 22. However, a series of serious knee injuries hampered his progress and he left Chicago for an unsuccessful first stint with the Knicks in 2016 before also representing the Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons.
Rose's return to NYC
Rose returned to New York in February and was a key reason for their run to fourth in the Eastern Conference last season. Now 33, he contested suggestions his performance against Milwaukee was "vintage". To which he replied, "What's vintage about it? I wasn't shooting threes, not pulling off shots like I am now, if you want to say it, it's whatever".
Randle had 16 points and eight rebounds in the first half and he hailed the character in the team to complete such a resounding comeback. "It showed a lot about the character of our team," he said. "NBA games are long. What's special about our team is we fight. We have a lot of high character guys."
Head coach Tom Thibodeau hopes his side do not find themselves in such precarious positions too often, though credited the team for their resilient fightback. "Obviously, you don't want to get down like we did, but we did," he said. "It's a long game. You've got to keep fighting and get it to a manageable number. Once we got going a little bit and we made a couple hustle plays, it galvanised us and gave us energy."