The Knicks' defensive effort this season has been poor, and that was evident Sunday during their 119-114 loss to the Celtics.
"It was all defense, the way I look at it," Rose said about the loss, according to Ian Begley of ESPN. "We didn't communicate well."
The Knicks outscored the Celtics in the third and fourth quarter, but couldn't overcome the large deficit that was a result of them being outscored 34-20 in the second quarter.
"Defensively, we weren't great tonight," Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek said.
New York has allowed 107.9 points per game this season -- the sixth-worst mark in the league.
The Knicks' biggest problem is a lack of leadership and overall communication. On Christmas Day, that issue reared its head most on the defensive end against the Celtics.
Derrick Rose is a big upgrade for the Knicks at the point guard position, but he's not a defensive stopper, nor is he as quick as he used to be. When the explosive Isaiah Thomas is attacking the basket, Rose needs help.
Whether that comes down to him calling things out, or a front court defensive anchor rallying his troops behind Rose (quite literally), there needs to be better communication. The rest of Rose's teammates might not see the pick coming, but the anchor needs to have the foresight.
The problem is that Joakim Noah hasn't stepped up in a necessary way. He may be a vocal player, but his on the court time (or lack thereof) hasn't allowed him to be as effective. Kyle O'Quinn has proven to be a high-energy player, but the Knicks haven't entrusted him with serving as a leader in that respect. Willy Hernangomez is still young and inexperienced, so New York has been hard pressed to find someone to lean on.
It's often too much to simply ask the team as a whole to play better overall defense. Switching doesn't come naturally for each and every player. If someone can't anticipate what the defense is going to do (and how to subsequently react), they need someone else to start calling things out.
Noah was paid to be that type of player, and he hasn't delivered. His inability isn't anything new at this point, but when the offense suffers due to a lack of ball movement, the Knicks are unable to stay afloat and their vulnerabilities on the defensive end are easier to pinpoint.