After the veteran duo started the second half and helped bring the Knicks back from a 13-point halftime deficit two nights earlier in their Game 2 win that tied the series, Thibodeau did all-in and eventually put Elfrid Payton on the bench, who for several weeks was his starting point in name only.
Payton had started each of the previous 65 games he appeared in this season, including the first two games of this series, but “starter” was never a dumber designation after playing just eight minutes and five minutes, respectively. , in Games 1 and 2. Payton was benched for the final 43 minutes of the Knicks’ victory in Game 2 at the Garden, with Rose recording 39 minutes.
Barely an hour before the roster changes were revealed just before Friday’s kickoff at State Farm Arena, Thibodeau played shyly with the media, saying he was “still undecided” and was thinking about it. always “on the basis of” which gives us our best chance of winning. “
Either way, Thibodeau thought he would lean heavily on Rose again after the 32-year-old former NBA MVP scored 26 points, a record for the team, including two keys. 3 points in the second half rally, Game 2. Rose’s performance was paramount. , with top scorer Julius Randle battling for the second game in a row until he scores 13 of his 15 points after halftime.
“Derrick gives you an extra dimension, but you also have to look at how things fit together and what it does,” Thibodeau said ahead of Rose’s first playoff start since Game 6 of the 2015 second round for the Bulls. against the Cavaliers. “I thought Julius wasn’t called in the second half so we need everyone, and the game tells you what to do.
“When Derrick is trapped he comes out of the ball quickly and we can play from the back. So whenever a team overloads a particular player, that player has the responsibility to get the ball out quickly and move it. And we can get some great shots. I think Derrick is experienced, and most players do. Just read the game. The game will tell you what to do. And then we have to surround Julius with gunfire. This also comes into play. “
The Brooklyn-raised Gibson have been splitting their time with starter Nerlens Noel at center since Mitchell Robinson underwent foot surgery in March in his fourth game after also missing time after hand surgery. Gibson and Rose also played for Thibodeau earlier in their careers with the Bulls and Timberwolves.
Noel was hampered by an ankle injury in Game 1 of the series, and he finished with two points, five rebounds and no blocked shot in 17 minutes in Game 2.