GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Derrick Rose feels appreciated by Knicks’ fans and believes some have and more will jump on this team’s bandwagon. Rose wants to make the playoffs for all of them.
The former Bull and Chicago native said the fans in his hometown saw him at his MVP best, and they stopped appreciating him when he couldn’t live up to their expectations after injuries made him a lesser player.
When Rose has been healthy this season with the Knicks, he’s attacked the basket, hit clutch shots and has become a Garden favorite.
“I just want to win here,” Rose said after practice Wednesday. “Winning is everything here, I think not only for myself but for the franchise, for the city.
“It’s good that I know we’re going to get to the point where we’re going to bring some Knick fans back to us. Like the fans who gave up on the team probably a while ago just off the direction the team was going, we’re going to bring them back.”
The Knicks are 15-13, marking the first time they’ve been over .500 this deep into the season since 2012-13. They’re hoping to end a three-year playoff drought, and believe they have the players to make a postseason run in the wide-open East.
“Everybody wants to get to the playoffs,” Carmelo Anthony said. “But with this team and the talent that we have, we have the opportunity to do something special, and solidify ourself as one of the top seeds in the East. But we have to work on some things and get better.”
Rose is a big part of that.
He gives the Knicks a different dimension as a point guard who gets inside at will, and constantly puts pressure on defenses. He also opens things up for Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis because of all the attention he draws and gives the Knicks a formidable Big Three.
Rose returned from a two-game absence Tuesday and scored 24 points in the Knicks’ win over the Pacers. The Knicks, who host Orlando Thursday, are 1-3 when Rose doesn’t play.
“I felt like I was doing the same thing in Chicago, especially the second half [last year],” Rose said. “But I told you in Chicago they’re not trying to see that. They saw me in my MVP form so anything less than that they’re not trying to see it, they’re not trying to hear about it.
“[Here] it’s just feeling appreciated for just going out here and playing hard.”
The Knicks are tough to guard, especially when Anthony, Rose and Porzingis all have it going at the same time.
It happened Tuesday when they scored 35, 24 and 21, respectively. It was only the second time Anthony, Rose and Porzingis scored 20 in the same game. They also combined for 32 of the Knicks’ 34 fourth-quarter points.
The Knicks believe those three will continue to give team fits, and if Joakim Noah can consistently contribute the way he did Tuesday (11 points and 11 rebounds) and the defense shows up, they will be a tough out in the postseason.
“Right now the goal is the playoffs,” Rose said. “Once we get in the playoffs we’re going to be a hell of a team to go against, like you don’t know what to expect from us in the playoffs.
“I think we’re going to be a dangerous team in the playoffs but the first thing is to get there.”
Notes & quotes: Rose, a three-time All-Star, said he wouldn’t be upset if he doesn’t make the All-Star team. “I’ll love that week off,” he said. “I’m just being honest.” Then Rose was told players can vote for the starters this year and he can vote for himself. “That’s cool,” he said. “For sure I’m going to vote for myself then.” . . . Cleanthony Early, Phil Jackson’s first draft pick as Knicks president, was traded by Westchester to Santa Cruz in a three-team trade that brought former UNC guard Courtney Fells to the Knicks’ D-League team.