Derrick Rose says coming off bench doesn't matter 'as long as we get the win'

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Derrick Rose intense clapping vs. Clippers
Derrick Rose intense clapping vs. Clippers

When Derrick Rose was traded to the Knicks in February, he started by coming off the bench -- a common move when star players arrive on new teams and need to get adjusted to the team. But eventually, most expected him to become the team's starter.

Three months later, Rose is still coming off the bench.

On days like Sunday, when Rose had 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting, eight assists and six rebounds in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers, he said he doesn't care how many minutes he plays or if he's off the bench of not, as long as the team wins.

"Whatever the team needs," Rose said after the win. "Like I've said, I'm the newcomer. ... if it's 10, five, two, it really don't matter to me as long as we get the win. The minutes, I really don't worry about that, I'll let (Tom Thibodeau) worry about that.

"I don't know when I'm coming in, I don't know when I'm coming out, but I just gotta make sure I prep myself before going into games. And that's the great thing about this team. ... even on an off night, we know that somebody can step up and make plays."

Obviously Thibodeau knows what he's doing with this team and especially with Rose. They've been together on three separate franchises and have had tons of success -- even though Rose was a different player for many of those years, he clearly still has a lot of MVP-level play left in him.

The Knicks have overachieved this season and that started even before Rose, who's averaging 14.4 points, 4.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game this season, was traded to New York.

"The heart of this team has been special from the beginning," Thibodeau said after Sunday's game. "The challenge for us is 'be hungry, don't change now,' because this is what we've done all year. Just concentrate on improvement and the next opponent, and that's what we're looking forward to doing. ... There's still a long way to go."

With four games left on their schedule, the Knicks are in sole possession of the No. 4 seed in the East, and their magic numbers is two to lock themselves into a Top 6 playoff spot.

For a team that is mostly the same as last year's to now have the amount of wins this season as they had in the two previous seasons combined, the Thibodeau -- and Rose -- effect is real.

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