Knicks could be gaining back essential piece against 76ers on Sunday

Alexander Wilson
New York Knicks, NYK
Feb 28, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (4) dribbles the ball during the first quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

After losing two consecutive games to the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, the New York Knicks walked away with a last-second victory over the Orlando Magic on Thursday evening.

Nearly beating two playoff-caliber teams was a positive step for the Knicks, but they almost blew it against the Magic, as forward Reggie Bullock turned the ball over on the final possession, giving Orlando one last opportunity to steal a win. Thankfully, Bullock redeemed himself, creating a turnover and solidifying the victory for New York, which should’ve been an easy one considering Orlando is 13-27 on the year.

The Knicks have been utilizing their backup point guards primarily with Derrick Rose and Elfrid Payton missing time. Frank Ntilikina earned the start against Orlando, posting 13 points and one assist over 27 minutes. They were also without Immanuel Quickley, so the Knicks had to get a bit creative with their lineup on Thursday.

However, reinforcements are on the way, as Rose will likely make a return on Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

According to SNY’s Ian Begley, Derrick Rose could be available to start against the 76ers on Sunday.

If Rose has finished his isolation, he should be back on the court Sunday against the 76ers, pending the approval by a team and league physician.

Rose made his return to MSG on Thursday, watching the game from the bench. He remains out due to health and safety protocols and considering he was in the building, it suggests he could be close to a return. Having been out since March 2, he has missed several games, which started due to an inconclusive COVID-19 test. He posted several consecutive negative results, but the league hasn’t approved his return to the court just yet.

Rose was a stellar acquisition for the Knicks, as an old friend of head coach Tom Thibodeau. This season, he’s averaging 12.5 points, 4.9 assists, and a career-high .875 free-throw percentage with New York.

Gaining him back will be essential as the Knicks look to make a playoff push after the All-Star break. Their upcoming opponents include Philadelphia, two consecutive games against Washington, and then the Milwaukee Bucks. A tough stretch of games, but the Knicks have proved they are capable of competing at a high-level.