New York Knicks: Derrick Rose's latest test is Russell Westbrook
Dec 25, 2015; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) drives to the basket against Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) during the first half of a NBA basketball game on Christmas at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks’ Derrick Rose‘s health has always been a hot topic. Russell Westbrook is the latest point guard to test it.

The last five games have seen the New York Knicks matched up against point guards John Wall, Dennis Schroder, Damian Lillard, and Kemba Walker (twice). You can imagine what the last couple of weeks have been like for Derrick Rose.

The Knicks managed a 3-2 record and Rose was a big part of that success. He averaged 18.6 points and 5.8 assists during the five-game stretch and played solid defense in every game.

It won’t get any easier for Rose on Monday night when the Knicks host the Oklahoma City Thunder. That means Russell Westbrook. Ouch.


Westbrook plays the point guard position like an NFL running back. He’s relentless in his drives to the basket and his individual success this season is the stuff of legend. To say the former MVP will have his hands full is unfair. J.J. Watt would have his hands full with Westbrook.

Rose tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that he’s feeling healthy and playing against the elite is giving him strength.

“My goal is to play 82,’’ said Rose, who missed 119 regular-season games the previous three seasons. “I don’t want to miss a game. Playing against every great team in this league, playing against every great player, from Dame [Damian Lillard], Kemba [Walker] to Westbrook. I worked out with Westbrook over the summer. To have the opportunity to play against great guards and compete against them and give them a good game gives me a lot of confidence and just lets me know I’m on the right track.’’

Rose, a friend of Westbrook’s, was asked if he’d spoken to his counterpart about the Durant saga.

“I didn’t want to ask him about it,’’ Rose said sheepishly. “I think my friends probably asked him what was going on and I wasn’t around to hear it. I didn’t want to ask him about it. He normally gives me my space when I have things going on. He doesn’t ask me about it. I give him his space with everything going about him in the summer.’’

Rose is averaging 32.3 minutes, 15.9 points, 5.0 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 0.8 steals on a slash line of .432/.280/.863.

Westbrook is averaging 35.4 minutes, 31.2 points, 11.2 assists, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.3 steals on a slash line of .435/.337/.813.

The Knicks take on the Thunder at 7:30 pm ET at Madison Square Garden.

Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.

Please SUBSCRIBE to ESNY's Daily Newsletter, ESNY City Stream. Every piece of content included yet CUSTOMIZED to your New York Sports-team allegiance:

ESNY City Stream

NYY

NYM

NYG

NYJ

NYK

BKN

NYR

NYI

NJD

SJU