Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau is playing his cards close to his chest when it comes to his starting lineup on Friday night.
The New York Knicks have run with the same starting lineup for months, but there might be a change coming. Elfrid Payton‘s minutes have been decreasing for a while and he only played five minutes in Game 2. Tom Thibodeau told reporters he was “still undecided” on a starting lineup in his pregame press conference.
It’s hard to fault Thibs for holding his starters back from the media. That’s par for the course when it comes to gamesmanship in the playoffs.
Thibodeau made the switch to Derrick Rose to start the second half in place of Payton. The addition of Rose and Taj Gibson to that group provided a massive lift for the Knicks. They were able to claw their way back from 15 points down to win.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Thibs make the switch to Rose. He trusts him as much as he trusts anyone on this roster and Rose looks healthy enough to play big minutes for the Knicks here.
There’s little doubt that Rose will be the guy to join those starters, but there is a small chance that Frank Ntilikina finds his way into some minutes. The Knicks are throwing everything and the kitchen sink at Trae Young so far and Ntilikina’s length could be a nice changeup.
Thibs trusted Ntilikina to defend Young on the final possession in Game 1. Unfortunately for the Knicks, Ntilikina wasn’t able to stop Young from drilling the game-winner, but again, Thibodeau’s faith in Ntilikina was on full display.