The New York Knicks have now racked up 13 wins a row and clinched an Atlantic Division title. Despite the recent surge of success, the Knicks are banged up in the front-court in a big way, leaving them to play some serious small-ball the next couple of nights. The number two seed isn’t clinched yet, as the magic number currently sits at 3. Can the Knicks take another step to wrapping up the highest seed in the East not belonging to LeBron and his band of merry men?
Current Standings – New York (51-26) – 2nd in the Eastern Conference (10 games behind the Miami Heat), 1st in the Atlantic Division (6 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets). Chicago Bulls (42-35) - 5th in Eastern Conference (3.5 games behind Brooklyn, tied with Atlanta for #6 seed).
Injury Update – New York – Kenyon Martin (out, knee), Marcus Camby (out, foot), Tyson Chandler (out, bulging disc), Amare Stoudemire (out, knee), Rasheed Wallace (out, foot). Chicago - Derrick Rose (out, ACL), Joakim Noah (questionable, foot), Taj Gibson (questionable, knee), Loul Deng (questionable, hip)
Previous Meetings – The Bulls have won all three of their meetings against the Knicks this season, mostly recently 108-101 in Madison Square Garden back on January 11th.
What’s at Stake – The Knicks are still looking to lock down the number two seed in the Eastern Conference, as the Pacers only trail them by 2.5 games. They will also be giving an extended look to Chris Copeland and likely the newly signed James Singleton due to their depleted front-court depth. It would be nice for the Knicks to get a win under their belt against the Bulls, considering the two teams could meet in the second round. Chicago is currently tied with Atlanta in the race for the 5th seed and the right to play the HOV-less Brooklyn Nets in round one instead of the Indiana Pacers. Chicago is also working through various front-court injuries and could be playing a patchwork line-up tonight.
Key Matchup – Carmelo Anthony vs. Jimmy Butler - The rising second year player should see plenty of time guarding Anthony, who is on another planet right now with the basketball in his hands. Butler embodies the tough, physical style of play from the Bulls and Anthony and the Knicks must respond with composure and execution, unlike the earlier regular season match-ups.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter @TurnOnTheKnicks for commentary and shenanigans during tonight’s affair.