Knicks’ Derrick Rose thrives in Elfrid Payton’s place

Derrick Rose took advantage of the first start of his season as point guard on the first possession.

Rose kicked off the Knicks’ 140-point outburst by shooting to the basket and turning a left-handed running back on the glass. The Knicks never stopped scoring in the first game Elfrid Payton has missed this season.

Will this be the passing of the point guard torch or just a one night stand? Rose scored 18 points, making his first six shots in the Knicks’ 140-121 win over the hideous Kings on Thursday at the festive Garden.

Do you remember when Rose came on board? Tom Thibodeau’s first comments were that Rose would “initially” leave the bank.

Payton sat down with a sore hamstring and Rose, acquired this month, was anointed as a starter, his first start for the Knicks since the 2016-17 season, when he was first on the team.

Although Rose, 32, has started 618 career games, before the trade he had a 25-minute minute restriction with Detroit.

Derrick Rose fires during the Knicks' 140-121 win over the Kings.
Derrick Rose fires during the Knicks’ 140-121 win over the Kings.

“It’s not difficult,” Rose said before the game. “It’s basketball. It’s still basketball, bro. Give the boys the ball where they want it. Thibs will put us in a great place to be prepared in certain situations and my job is just to push the ball so just push whenever I can and just play my game. I don’t think you should think too much about it. I’ve been a starter for most of my career. So it shouldn’t be too difficult. ”

Former Knicks coach David Fizdale will always wonder what last season would have been like if Payton hadn’t sprained his hamstring in the fifth game of the season. When Payton returned after an 18-game absence, Fizdale was 4-18 and was fired after Payton’s first rusty game.

It has been quite different for Payton in his second season as Knick. He’s been an ironman, playing in the first 32 games before Thursday.

Payton was a game-time decision, but he canceled it after making a handful of free throws an hour before kickoff. He is averaging 12.4 points, 3.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds on 44.1 percent shooting.

Payton’s hamstring performed poorly in Tuesday’s game against Golden State. It has been long-lasting – and effective – putting up with the cries that rookie Immanuel Quickley started before him before Rose arrived.

“In terms of Elfrid’s value to the team, we’ve seen it,” Thibodeau said. “His strengths are different from some of the other guys: his size, ability to protect the ball and ability to get into the paint, they are invaluable to use. He has had a very good season. ”


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