It’s a lot of fun to watch Brandon Jennings come in with the Knicks second unit and just get out and run. The tempo changes, the flow of the game changes, and the Knicks are far more entertaining.
They’re just not better. Jennings is not terribly efficient, and neither is the Knicks bench. Derrick Rose has had his best season in a while — averaging 16.4 points per game, he was moving better laterally and was quicker than we have seen since the knee injuries began — and with that the Knicks have been 7.5 points per 100 possessions better when Rose is on the court.
But back spasms had sidelined Rose the last three games — all Knicks losses. Put Jennings in with the starters and they have been 5.7 per 100 possessions worse as a lineup. So it’s good news for New York that Rose should return Tuesday, via Ian Begley of ESPN.
“That’s the plan,” (Rose) said after participating in a full practice on Monday. “I just want to put all these injuries behind me and get on with the season….
“I think it’s just a one-shot thing,” he said. “Before I fell I wasn’t worried about it. Things like this are going to happen. It comes with the season — bumps and falls. I just got to find a way around it. I can’t let it get to me mentally.”
The Knicks host the Pacers on Tuesday, and on Sunday will host the Celtics in the tip-off of the Christmas Day games.
New York cannot afford a prolonged slump, they are currently the six seed in the East but are just a game ahead of nine-seed Detroit. Only two games separate the four seed and the 11 seed in the Eastern Conference right now, no team can afford to be off their game for long.