“I just needed a day,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said after outlasting Spurs 102-98 at the Garden. “We knew we had a few guys [Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks] back, so we thought it would be nice to give him the rest. “
Rose, 32, could have played, although Thibodeau admitted Rose suffered an injury on Tuesday against the Lakers when he recorded a season-high 39 minutes.
“He tweaked it in the Laker game,” said Thibodeau. “He did stuff before the game. And we just thought it better not to play with him today and see where he is [Friday]. »
The Knicks came close to losing this one because starting point goalie Elfrid Payton continued an astonishing regression, going scoreless and missing all four shots, posting a minus-11 in 13 minutes.
Here’s a sobering statistic: The Knicks entered Thursday’s game 16-21 when Rose was not on the field, including games before she arrived. They have 22-11 when he plays.
The Knicks survived this time around because Burks had a monster 30-point night off the bench, forced into a playmaker role due to Payton’s offensive ineffectiveness.
Thibodeau was asked directly if maybe it was time to start Rose if he came back against Charlotte on Saturday. Thibodeau danced but seemed to hold on. He said no.
“We like our depth,” Thibodeau said. “We have versatility. Each game tells you something different. Whatever your needs, you have the answer at the start or on the bench. And so that’s what I like about the team, the depth of the team. “
Reading between the lines, Thibodeau can adjust if Payton doesn’t have a good night, with Rose, Burks, Quickley and even Frank Ntilikina in a pinch.
Rose averaged 31 minutes during the six-game road trip out west. He was under a minute restriction of about 25 minutes when he played for the Pistons earlier this season. He didn’t do well defensively at the end of the Lakers ‘loss and was the goat on Wesley Matthews’ offensive rebound.
Meanwhile, Payton has started but his minutes have shrunk – along with his game. Payton has accumulated four points in the last three games and has been down in the majority of the last 14 games. He hasn’t played more than 18 minutes in any game on the road.
With Kentucky coach John Calipari at the Garden, Quickley had a missed, scoreless game in a 0-for-4 performance with a turnover.
The Taj Gibson Vault recorded four blocks. … Longtime Knicks broadcaster Mike Breen, who is also ESPN / ABC head, will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts on Friday. His induction ceremony was postponed to September due to the pandemic.