Derrick Rose choked.
“I’m lost for words,” said an emotional Rose to Mike Breen, who broke the terrible news of Mitchell Robinson suffering from a broken right foot.
The post-match interview became moving.
Derrick Rose didn’t know that @ 23savage ____ broke his foot. Clearly shocked:
“I’m lost for words man. ” pic.twitter.com/2WALXcC4QX
– KNICKS SUR MSG (@KnicksMSGN) 28 mars 2021
It was a tough Saturday night for the New York Knicks in Milwaukee despite a 102-96 victory at the Fiserv Forum.
The Knicks were without two starters. Then they lost Robinson in the first quarter. But they were still expected to be safely headed for an easy win, with the Bucks missing seven players, including four starters.
The Knicks had to rely on the heroism of Alec Burks to survive the night.
Burks broke a 96 stalemate with a three-runner in the final 79 seconds, then sealed the Knicks’ 24th win at the line after the Bucks missed their three-runner tries.
The Bucks have played without seven players, including four starters under Giannis Antetokounmpo. But they had another Antetokounmpo – Thanasis, who shed a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds and almost led a surprise.
The Knicks were also missing two starters: All-Star Julius Randle, who missed his first game of the season with a bruised right thigh, and Reggie Bullock is still nursing a sprained right ankle. Then Robinson joined the injured list. But the team only learned of the severity of the injury after their courageous victory.
Left with a rag-tag team, Mike Budenholzer nearly outsmarted the Knicks with a zone defense. New York, however, hit 16 of 44 three points to survive.
A straight three-run from Burks and rookie Immanuel Quickley opened up a 10-point lead, 87-77, for the Knicks early in the last quarter. But the Bucks’ version of “The Replacements” refused to easily fold.
Pat Connaughton, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and undrafted rookie Mamadi Diakite joined forces to bring Milwaukee down to two points, 96-94. Brook Lopez, the only available starter for Budenholzer, punctuated the Bucks rally with a fall of Antetokounmpo’s fifth pass, with 1:35 left in the game.
Rose, who has just returned from her battle with COVID-19, was trapped in the middle of the lane. He turned him over to Quickley, who quickly switched him to a wide-open Burks for the three-point green light.
It was Quickley’s fifth assist and Burks’ sixth three-pointer. The pivotal play was a reflection of the Knicks’ collective effort to climb two games above 0.500 (24-22) for the first time since January.
The Knicks have registered 28 assists.
Barrett led the Knicks with seven assists, a season-high, with seven tables and 21 points, picking up the leadership torch for Randle.
“Today the situation was a little different, but we found a way to win and take it out,” Barrett said.
Burks extended his streak with at least 20 points in five games. He had 21 for the night and added 10 rebounds, five assists and two shooting blocks.
Rose shot 6 for 15 and finished with 13 points in his first game since missing the Knicks’ last nine games.
Taj Gibson, who had a strong power start up front, had six points, eight tables, four assists and four blocks in 34 minutes.
Noel intervened with Robinson again. He played 32 minutes and contributed six points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks.
Even rookie Obi Toppin and rarely used Kevin Knox have had their moments. They combined for 11 points off the bench.
“I love our team. I love our versatility, ”said Tom Thibodeau afterwards.
The whole team surpassed the challenge.
“Obviously, they care about each other a lot. Mitch has been great to us. So you hate to see
this. It is a very united group. You must feel for Mitchell because of all the work he’s done, ”Thibodeau said.
I took a beating all year round smfh
– Mitchell Robinson (@ 23savage ____) 28 mars 2021
” It’s hard. It’s hard for him. He worked so hard to come back and see it come back down. It hurts us, ”Barrett said. “It hurts the team, but you know, we’ll be with him every step of the way until he comes back.”
Rose, who has survived many serious injuries throughout her career, was devastated and compassionate towards Robinson.
“It sucks. Especially the more I got to know him, ”said Rose. “For someone like him to see how hard he worked to come back and make it happen, sucks. ”
Robinson will be reassessed upon his return to New York. But one thing is certain: he will be absent again for a long time.
The Knicks will also be re-evaluating their options. They have an open place on the list. The timing of Robinson’s injury came following a report that they are no longer interested in prosecuting André Drummond.
The two-time former All-Star center and four-time league-leading rebounder and the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to buyout terms.
The defending Los Angeles Lakers champion is said to be the favorite to sign him.
The Memphis Grizzlies also recently gave up another former Thibodeau player, Gorgui Dieng.
John Henson and Norvell Pelle, who had a brief stint with the Brooklyn Nets this season, are also available. Both were on the Knicks’ radar when Robinson fell with a broken hand.
The Knicks have a huge decision to make as they enter a critical period of their playoff push. After the Miami Heat on Monday, the Knicks will play 14 games in April with teams vying for the play-in tournament and the playoffs.
The Knicks survived Robinson’s first extended absence with a 9-6 record. There is no guarantee that they will be able to withstand a second storm.
“You feel like a teammate, but it’s part of the game. So you have to take care of it as best you can,” said Thibodeau.
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