The Alabama-Clemson national championship game was the center of attention in the sports world Monday night, but the odd Derrick Rose saga stole some of that game's thunder. Rose has avoided a suspension from the Knicks, though, and should be in the lineup Wednesday.
By now you surely know that Rose was at the Knicks' shootaround early Monday but was AWOL for their home game against New Orleans. Rose never told the team where he was or that he wasn't going to show up. The Knicks were obviously concerned for his safety, sending someone to his apartment, and it made for a very uncomfortable post-game press conference for Coach Jeff Hornacek.
There were many rumors flying, with the two primary ones being that Rose was off pouting because Hornacek had recently started benching him in the fourth quarters of games, or that Rose was back in Chicago dealing with some family matter. Certainly if it was the second thing, the Knicks would have understood and allowed him to miss the game if Rose has simply told the team. Rose eventually checked in late Monday night with the Knicks.
New York was easily beaten by the Pelicans, 110-96, in one of the worst nights in franchise history because on top of the Rose saga, both Carmelo Anthony and Kyle O'Quinn were ejected from the loss. It was New York's eighth defeat in nine games (4-5 ATS on NBA picks) and few Knicks showed any heart against the Pelicans.
On Wednesday, New York visits Philadelphia and Rose is expected to be in the lineup. He was back at practice Tuesday and only fined by the team. Rose, 28, has averaged 17.3 points, 4.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 33 games for the Knicks. While the team hasn't suspended Rose, it's possible Hornacek could still choose not to play him for embarrassing him and the organization. Brandon Jennings, who started for Rose, was one of the few Knicks who played well in the loss to the Pelicans with 20 points.
Wednesday is the first meeting of the season between the Knicks and 76ers -- thus our first look at Kristaps Porzingis vs. Joel Embiid, two of the NBA's best young big men. New York has won the past five in the series, including two straight in Philly. The Knicks are 4-1 ATS on NBA odds in that five-game winning streak.
However, the 76ers are playing much better this season and of late, having won three of four. The Sixers are 7-7 when Embiid scores 20 or more points. He has scored at least 20 in six straight games and has played less than 30 minutes in all of them. It's the longest streak of its kind since the NBA began recording minutes played in 1951-52.