1) Derrick Rose back with “family” in New York
Reunited and it feels so good…
Except for the loss at the end.
Derrick Rose was back with the New York Knicks, reunited with coach Tom Thibodeau, and he said it felt like being with family again. It also looked good considering Rose has yet to practice with the team; he scored 14 points and was a much more willing playmaker and passer than the last time Rose pulled a Knicks jersey over his head.
Rose’s minutes were matched with rookie Immanuel Quickley — both got more than 20 off the bench — as they came in together to sub out starters Elfrid Payton and RJ Barrett. While single-game +/- is a flawed stat, let it be known that the Knicks were +6 in this game when Rose and Quickley were on the court together. After Rose and Quickley checked in during the first quarter, the Knicks outscored the Heat by 11 in the next 11 minutes.
It wasn’t enough. Miami got a much-needed win 98-96 behind 25 points from Jimmy Butler and 20 from Kelly Olynyk. It was the kind of hard-fought, grinding win that Miami used a lot in the bubble to advance to the NBA Finals last season. Bam Adebayo’s defense kept Julius Randle in check (12 points on 18 shots), which was key for the Heat.
Still, it was promising for Rose and the Knicks, as they fight to get into the play-in and maybe the playoffs in the West. It was just one game, but Rose looked like a guy who could help with that.
More importantly, Rose is looking like a mentor for the young Knicks. Rose talked to Quickley and the other Knicks’ name rookie Obi Toppin at dinner the night before, telling them to lean on him for advice. After the game, Rose had nothing but praise for Quickley, via Marc Berman of the New York Post.
“He listens. That’s the greatest thing about him, he listens. With that, you always got room for improvement. He’s a dog. He’s a dog. I can’t explain it. You’ve got to be a player to understand it. We’re in a fight, I know he’s fighting.”
There’s a lot of season left, but this looks like a good thing in New York.
2) Stephen Curry — how did he do that?
This layup by Stephen Curry…. How? Just, how?
Curry drove the lane and the Spurs defended it well, collapsed on him, so Curry spun mid-air to kick the pass back out, then changed his mind and hit the shot.
Curry finished the night with 32 points and the Warriors got the win, 114-91, over San Antonio.
But that all seemed secondary to that shot.
3) Brooklyn Nets searching for an identity after Pistons hand them third-straight loss
Kyrie Irving called the Nets “very average.” Coach Steve Nash said, “It’s about personal pride,” and expressed frustration that the Nets had to be down by 20 to play with any urgency.
The built-in excuse is there for Brooklyn’s loss to struggling Detroit, Kevin Durant was out for the game.
But if you watched the game, the problems in Brooklyn are bigger than that — Detroit flat-out out-worked and out-played the Nets. The Pistons earned this win. Jerami Grant continued his “I told you I deserved this contract” tour scoring 32 points and hitting 4-of-8 from three, Delon Wright dropped 22, and Mason Plumlee finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists, completely outplaying DeAndre Jordan.
In the 13 games since the James Harden trade, the Nets have a -0.2 net rating. They’re average. Yes, members of the big three have been in and out of the lineup, but this team still has more talent than that number shows.
This team is still figuring things out, a team that still has the star potential to go deep in the playoffs. But the league-worst defense since the trade is a legitimate problem. The inconsistent effort is as well. The Nets need to figure out who they are, because if they think they can flip the switch come the playoffs, they might want to ask Doc Rivers, Kawhi Leonard and last season’s Clippers how that works out.