Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks' Defense Lackluster

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks' Defense Lackluster

Article excerpt

DETROIT -- Midway through the fourth quarter, after so many sequences of darting to the rim, Derrick Rose started in and hit the brakes, sending Detroit's Ish Smith reeling as Rose softly banked in a short jump shot.

Rose had his way much of the night offensively with 19 points, showing more and more of the flashes of the explosive player he was early in his career. But for the Knicks, his offensive prowess wasn't enough Tuesday. While much has been made of Rose's fragile health and the offensive schemes he finds himself trying to decipher, it was on the defensive end again where the Knicks found themselves lacking.

New York fell to the Pistons, 102-89, dropping to 1-2 on the season as it faces its first back-to-back test with a return to Madison Square Garden tonight. With the high-powered Houston Rockets arriving, the Knicks have little time to fix the defense that has allowed 117, 104 and 102 points in the first three games.

Rose's bank shot with 5:40 to play supplied New York's final points of the night as the offense went ice cold. On both ends, in the most crucial stretch of the game, the Knicks looked unsure of their intentions.

The early struggles are hardly a surprise after the team didn't have the starting five together for a single minute of preseason. After missing nearly all of training camp to be in Los Angeles for the civil trial involving an alleged sexual assault, Rose and the Knicks got off to a shaky start in the season opener. It got better in Game 2, and now he was trying to focus without looking ahead to Friday.

While Rose already has been dealing with plenty of distractions, he was intent that he wouldn't allow it to happen Friday, when he returns to Chicago. It's where he grew up and spent the first eight seasons of his NBA career.

"Man, I haven't even been thinking about it," Rose said. "Only probably when it's game day I'll think about it. I'm just trying to win every game. Like it's no bad blood there, either. I understand that this is a business and they made a business decision. On my end, all I've got to do is stay prepared and focus on what's ahead of me."

Rose began his career in Chicago as the No. …

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