The New York Knicks are headed to Chicago tonight for a nationally televised (TNT) matchup against Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls.
Current Records – New York Knicks (1-0) – Chicago Bulls (0-1)
What to watch for - For thirty seconds today, Rose was a game-time decision, but Chicago will see it’s superstar play at home for the first time since tearing his ACL in the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Iman Shumpert suffered that same fate, coincidentally on that same day, but magically appeared in 45 games for the Knicks last season. These two took different paths from their injuries, but will meet tonight in a backcourt battle that should be fun to watch grow over the next few years.
Everyone knows what to expect out of Tom Thibodeau coached defense. The Chicago frontcourt is well rounded and aggressive on the glass, and Joakim Noah is the definition of a villain, always looking to get under an opponent’s skin despite always being hobbled by injuries. It’s up to Derrick Rose to balance out this defense with a capable offense.
It’s also up to Shump to keep D-Rose from executing said offense. Raymond Fleton will probably start out the game on the former MVP, but Shumpert had a lot of success guarding him in his rookie year, and will be looking to build on those performances. The Knicks as a whole want to knock off the Bulls, who swept all four matchups last season, and even had New York in total meltdown mode. I stated in this week’s TOK Roundtable that I wanted to see a little more maturity out of the 2013-14 New York Knicks, so hopefully it will show tonight.
As for the rest of the team, I’m hoping Andrea Bargnani can find some success on the road, where no one will be calling for his head upon each shot attempt. Kenyon Martin and Amar’e Stoudemire should be ready to roll, but expectations should be tempered at this time of year. J.R. Smith is serving the second of his five game suspension, so Tim Hardaway Jr. will be in for a little extra burn.
Keys - What this game comes down to is Rose’s ability to get the Bulls offense going. On Tuesday night, they clearly had problems working out the kinks in the opener at Miami, scoring only 33 points in the first half. A cold start like that combined with some hot thee-point shooting by the Knicks could be all it takes for a New York victory. If Rose is able execute, the Knicks are going to have trouble keeping pace with the Bulls, especially if their offense gets stagnant.
- Depending on how many minutes Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin can give, the Knicks may have the size and depth to compete with Chicago, but I still wouldn’t expect New York to win the rebounding battle. They’ll need to overcome this by shooting efficiently, something that’s way easier said than done against a tough Bulls defense.
- The Knicks had 22 turnovers last night against the Bucks, which last year would have been a season-high. Luckily, they forced 23 and were able to get the win. I don’t think the Knicks should count on winning if they give up the ball that many times tonight, nor should they depend on forcing that many turnovers against a smart Chicago team.
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