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Derrick Rose lifts New York past Memphis 118-104 as Knicks bank third straight

Derrick Rose was on fire last night in Memphis, shooting 11-15 from the field including 3-5 from behind the arc to sum up 25 points off the bench or the Knicks who defeated the Grizzlies 118-104 in the second game of the Western trip.

Rose, who was named NBA’s Most Valuable Player 10 years ago, continues his strong performance since recovering from Covid-19. The previous night he dropped 24 on the Rockets, last night he led the offense in a style that resembled his early Bulls days. He scored 15 points in the first half, then, when he struggled in the second half he was replaced by Alec Burks, only to return in the fourth to put more nails in the home team’s coffin.

“I’m trying to drop some pounds now. During COVID, I gained some weight. I was eating a lot. In practices I’m trying to do extra conditioning. Or whenever I get a chance to do my three-minute runs I do that, so I could lose two or three more pounds.”

Derrick Rose

Burks, who has just returned after missing 8 games to Covid-19 protocols, played 15 minutes and scored 9 points off the bench, making all of his first four attempts but unfortunately, he left the court with four minutes left with a twisted ankle after entangling with Memphis guard Ja Morant. His status is still uncertain for Wednesday’s game in Denver.

Julius Randle, once again, led the Knicks with 28 points, 6 boards and 6 assists. RJ Barrett scored 15 to go with his 7 boards, Reggie Bullock went for 13 points and Elfrid Payton finished with 10. Taj Gibson who replaced Nerlens Noel at the Center, scored 6 , blocked 5 shots and collected a team-high 12 rebounds.

The game was mostly tied with the Knicks leading usually in single digits but at the end of the third quarter, New York completed an 8-0 run that gave them the biggest lead of the night, 97-80.

Memphis reacted in the fourth and cut the lead to just five in a span of under 2 minutes. But the last couple of minutes were controlled by Rose and Randle who secured another W for coach Thibs.

The Grizzlies were led by Dillon Brooks with 25 points. Desmond Bane scored 22 off the bench while Ja Morant was kept to just 8 buckets and 5 dimes.

The Knicks have now improved 37-28 with 7 games left to play, clinching their first winning season since 2012-13. They are also on a rare path that had them win 12 of their last 13 games.

Up-Next:

The Knicks (37-28) will face the Nuggets (43-22) on Wednesday night from 9:00 pm at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

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