(The Sports Xchange) – When the New York Knicks acquired point guard Derrick Rose in the off-season they envisioned a playmaker who could accelerate to the rim and become a secondary scorer to Carmelo Anthony.
The only question was could the injury-plagued Rose, a former MVP with the Chicago Bulls, hold up to the rigors of a full season?
After missing three of the Knicks last four games with back spasms, Rose provided the Knicks with the ingredients they have been missing in the backcourt over the last several seasons.
Rose poured in 24 points and dished out six assists in the Knicks 118-111 win over the Indian Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. His layup with 1:37 left gave the Knicks a 116-107 lead.
Rose looked sharp early and often in his 36 minutes. Rose and Anthony, who matched his season high with 35 points, led a fourth-quarter comeback by scoring 11 points apiece in the final frame.
The Knicks (15-13) were down by as many as 81-66 with 4:45 left in the third quarter, before staging their biggest comeback of the season. Anthony got it started with a step-back jumper.
Anthony drained seven-of-11 three-point attempts. He was 13-of-25 from the floor overall.
“I’m just happy that we won,” Rose told reporters. “I was just trying to get a feel for the game. With me being out, I tried to come in and get them going.
“I saw Melo (Carmelo Anthony) was hot and the team did a great job of finding Melo and KP (Kristaps Porzingis) in the second half. We were making the extra pass tonight.”
Joakim Noah added 11 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double this season and Porzingis contributed 21 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
New York sank 13 of its 23 three-point tries, matching its most of this season.
Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young paced Indiana (15-15) with 21 points apiece. Al Jefferson scored 18 points off the bench, and Jeff Teague registered 17 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.
“Carmelo (Anthony) got hot and made some tough shots,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “When he wasn’t scoring, (Derrick) Rose did a good job of taking over.
“You have to finish. If you don’t finish, whether you are at home or on the road, you are not going to win ball games. It comes down to executing and making plays when you have to.”