Derrick Rose wonders when NBA got ‘so soft’ amid Trae Young drama

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The tumult. The chanting. The shushing. Derrick Rose has seen and heard it all before.

And so, the cacophony of invective that came out of Game 1 of the Knicks-Hawks playoff series, directed at or instigated by Trae Young, might be worthy of angst for some, but not for the Knicks’ second-oldest player.

“That’s basketball,” Rose said Wednesday morning, smiling. “When did the league get so soft?”

Rose had been subbed out for defensive purposes and watched from the Knicks bench as Young got past Frank Ntilikina and hit the game-winning shot, a floater with 0.9 seconds remaining in a 107-105 victory for the Hawks. Young, after hearing the Garden crowd throughout the evening include his name in an obscenity-laced chant, put his finger to his lips, a simple gesture to shut up the fans jeering him.

Just like that, the 22-year old Young was identified as a New York villain, a casting job that surely got watered down considering what Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller and even guys like Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning and P.J. Brown inflicted on the franchise in past playoff confrontations.

Those guys riled up not only the Knicks fans, but the Knicks themselves. This guy?

“I’m really not even worried about what Trae got going on or what people are saying about him,” guard Reggie Bullock said. 

What Young, a 180-pound 22-year old in his first-ever postseason game, did to the Knicks in Game 1 was certainly impressive. But villainous?

“That’s basketball, man,” Rose said. “He came in, we played a great game and the crowd is supposed to do that, his reaction is supposed to be that way. It’s supposed to amp up and bring that atmosphere and that environment to where it is right now. I mean, that’s what I’m used to.”

Rose, 32, was a 20-year-old rookie when he led the Bulls to the playoffs after the 2008-09 season. Sunday night was his 48th career playoff game. He has seen a whole lot more emotional overload in the heat of the battle than Trae Young’s actions after Game 1.

 “I’ve been in series where drinks were thrown on my parents and people’s moms and like, you’re on the court and you see your mom getting beer splashed on her,” Rose said. “That’s the environment I’m used to. Now it’s a little different. So that’s all part of the game, when you got both sides fighting for something and you’ve been working your butt off all year and not only all year, but in the summertime when nobody’s watching you in the gym, working on your game and you see the results of it, not only in the regular season but in the playoffs.

“If you want to talk s–t, talk s–t. It’s alright. But next game, it’s gonna be tougher and that environment is gonna create a great atmosphere for some great basketball.”

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