The minutes have finally caught up with Knicks point guard Derrick Rose, who missed Thursday’s win over the Spurs with what the team termed a sprained ankle but was more about resting.
“Just needed a day,’’ Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said after surviving the Spurs, 102-98, at the Garden. “We knew we were getting a couple of guys [Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks] back so we thought it would be good to give him the rest.’’
Rose, 32, could’ve played, though Thibodeau admitted Rose hurt himself Tuesday against the Lakers when he logged a season high 39 minutes.
“He tweaked it in the Laker game,’’ Thibodeau said. “He did some stuff pregame. And we just felt it was better not to play him today and see where he is [Friday].’’
The Knicks nearly lost this one because starting point guard Elfrid Payton continued a stunning regression, going scoreless and missing all four of his shots, posting a minus-11 in 13 minutes.
Here’s a sobering stat: The Knicks entered Thursday’s game 16-21 when Rose isn’t on the court, including games before his arrival. They are 22-11 when he plays.
The Knicks survived this time because Burks had a monster 30-point night off the bench, forced into a point guard role because of Payton’s ineffectiveness offensively.
Thibodeau was asked directly if it may be time to start Rose if he returns Saturday against Charlotte. Thibodeau danced but seemed to hold firm. He indicated likely not.
“We like our depth,’’ Thibodeau said. “We have versatility. Each game tells you something different. Whatever you need, you have the answer either starting or on the bench. And so that’s what I like about the team, the depth of the team.’’
Reading between the lines, Thibodeau can adjust if Payton is not having a strong night, with Rose, Burks, Quickley and even Frank Ntilikina in a pinch.
Rose averaged 31 minutes during the six-game western road trip. He was under a minutes restriction of about 25 minutes when he played for the Pistons earlier this season. He didn’t fare well defensively late in the Lakers’ loss and was the goat on the Wesley Matthews offensive putback.
Meanwhile, Payton has started but his minutes have dwindled — along with his game. Payton has combined for four points in the past three games and has been a minus in the majority of the last 14 games. He didn’t play more than 18 minutes in any game on the road trip.
With his Kentucky coach John Calipari at the Garden, Quickley had a dud game, scoreless in an 0-for-4 performance with a turnover.
Backup center Taj Gibson registered four blocks. … Longtime Knicks broadcaster Mike Breen, who also is the lead guy at ESPN/ABC, will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., on Friday. His induction ceremony was postponed in September because of the pandemic.