The New York Knicks delivered a strong seoond half of Game 2 against the Atlanta Hawks to win 101-92 and even the series at 1-1. The Knicks, who trailed by 13 at halftime, ended up winning 101-92 and claiming their first playoff win since 2013.
"We started out slowly, and then our bench played in and played pretty good," Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Then we closed the second quarter slowly. So I just wanted to change it up. We wanted to do something different.
That's why you have a bench. Those guys came in, and they played great. I thought they played great in the first half, so I wanted to give us a different look, and it was a plus." The Knicks have a couple of young and promising players on their roster.
"We have some guys that haven't been in playoff games, and they'll get better as we go," Thibodeau said. "There's only one way to get experience, and that's you gotta get it. So each game I think they'll get better.
I think you learn from each game. You learn from each situation. But I think the fact that those guys have been in big games before is a big plus for our team."
Derrick Rose delivered for the Knicks
Rose scored a team-high 26 points to lead the Knicks past the Hawks.
"I've been working my butt off for a couple years now prepping myself and getting my body right," Rose said. "I take care of myself pretty good. I don't want to say too much about that because I don't want to jinx myself.
But I'm good. "I'm just happy that I'm feeling good. We got the win and I played a lot differently than I did in the first game. I was making sure I got into the ball whenever he passed half court. And just tried to play with urgency.
I didn't see that last game and I was disappointed in myself." The Knicks lost a tight Game 1 and the pressure was on them to win Game 2. "We came out in the third quarter and knew we couldn't lose two on our home court," Knicks big man Julius Randle said.
"Our intensity level just went to another level, defensively first. Derrick, Reggie and those guys did a good job getting into the ball. We were able to get stops and get out and play a little bit faster. We were playing with better pace on the offensive end."