Bottom-feeders old hat for Rose

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

NEW YORK -- Jalen Rose did not create the mess that is the New York Knicks, he just landed in the slop.

"I understand things that have been said about this team from a negative light were said before I got here," the quotable ex-Raptor said before facing his former team last night at Madison Square Garden. "I've just got to be a pro about it."

After hearing he was going to be a Knick for the past year, Rose finally was sent to Gotham on Feb. 3 when he was traded for Antonio Davis and a first-round pick. While the swingman must have been a bit relieved to get out of a situation in Toronto where he was not thriving, he has been thrown to the wolves in New York, the hotly rumoured destination for point guard Steve Francis of the Orlando Magic.

Heading into last night, the Knicks were 0-6 with Rose, despite the fact he is averaging more than 17 points with New York, about five more than his Raptors average this season. Don't feel sorry for Rose, however.

"I'm doing what I love to do," said Rose, who physically embraced just about every Raptor and everybody connected with his former squad before the game.

"I get a chance to practise every day and play every night and always have an influence on the guys around me. I was the captain in Toronto and I'm trying to embrace the same role here. From that, you can't allow yourself to be down regardless of the scenario. I think experience is a good teacher also because I indirectly went through the same thing getting traded from Indiana to (then-bottom-feeding) Chicago. I think it kind of prepared me how to deal with the second half of the season for a team that, right now, is not having a good season."

Rose has noticed the Raptors' recent improvement from a distance and gives a good deal of credit to Davis. With the reliable Davis manning the centre spot, Rose feels star Chris Bosh can be more of a traditional power forward. But another guy, Rose thinks, also deserves some praise.

"I think I can take a little credit because I've played in a couple of those games," he said with a smile.

Rose, who said he wasn't bitter about all the rumours in Toronto, had mixed emotions before facing the Raps.

"It's going to be real weird," he said. "I've got a lot of respect for those guys and I'm sure vice-versa. We've done a lot for each other on and off the floor as a team."


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