Monday March 12 8:00 P.M. ET
New York Knicks @ Chicago Bulls
The Knicks are currently in a tailspin, watching their season potentially go down the drain. Currently on a 5 game losing streak, the Knicks take their show on the road to face reigning MVP Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls are currently one of the hottest teams in the NBA, losing only 4 times in their past 19 games. This will be the 2nd of 4 meetings between the Knicks and Bulls, with the Knicks losing the first match-up of the season in heart breaking fashion, 105-102. Some keys to the game and things to watch for:
The Knicks have been very porous on the defensive end of the court lately, surrendering over 100 points their last 3 contests. Jared Jeffries is expected to be out again, leaving the Knicks without one of their best defenders and lacking depth in the front court.
The Knicks will somehow have to contain Bulls Point Guard Derrick Rose, who will add to the list of tough Point Guard match-ups for the Knicks recently. Rose is thought of by many as the best Point Guard in the NBA, so the Knicks guards will have their hands full. The Knicks will have a tough time winning if they allow Rose to go off for 32 points and 13 assists like he did in the first meeting. Normally you could count on seeing big minutes from Iman Shumpert, arguably the Knicks best perimeter defender. But recently, his minutes have been cut drastically. Shumpert seems to be the player suffering most from the addition of J.R. Smith and the healing Baron Davis.
The Knicks should consider playing some type of zone defense against this Bulls team. Playing zone would force the Bulls to not only knock down jump-shots, but also make it harder for Derrick Rose to get into the paint. Stopping Derrick Rose will be the game-plan for the Knicks, and any little wrinkle they can add to slow him down should be considered.
-Coming Out Strong
The Knicks have come out with little no energy and urgency throughout this current losing streak. If they are not up for a game against the Bulls, they will get run out of the gym. The Knicks are losing their grip on the 8th seed in the playoffs, and are in danger of missing the playoffs even with what Coach Mike D'Antoni called a title contending team earlier in the season, before Jeremy Lin was thrown into the fire.
Questionable coaching decisions and players that seem disinterested have this team in shambles. Carmelo Anthony is quoted saying, “"We've just got to figure it out. Now is not the time to drop our heads and start thinking too much. We've got to figure it out, one way or another. Something's got to happen." Time is something the Knicks do not have, so they better figure it out soon or there will be a number of changes on the horizon.
-Can Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire Co-exist?
Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire combined for 60 of the 102 Knicks points to go along with 17 rebounds in the first meeting. If they hope to have any chance of winning, they will need to ride the backs of their 2 supposed superstars. The Bulls could be without both starting Center Joakim Noah and starting Small Forward Luol Deng (backup Guard Richard “Rip” Hamilton is also expected to miss the game), meaning the Bulls could potentially be as short-handed, if not more, than the Knicks. If all of those players miss the game, the Knicks have to take advantage and attack what would be a less formidable front court of Carlos Boozer, Omer Asik and Kyle Korver.