Let's Get Another W Tonight!
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Last night the New York Knicks dismantled the lowly Washington Wizards 103-65. That's what good basketball teams are supposed to do to their inferior opponents. This is a nice win for the Knicks who showed how much better they can be than the lower teams in the NBA. Fans should not get too excited over such a blowout because the Knicks have blown teams out this year and then put up a dud either the next game or a few games later. The Knicks must show this type of play more consistently and they will make some noise in the playoffs. If I was the Knicks I would rather sit in the 8 spot and open up the playoffs in Chicago rather than in South Beach. The Knicks can play with Chicago no doubt, and might even be able to win a series.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Final Score: Washington Wizards 65 New York Knicks 103
The Knicks did exactly what teams in their position are supposed to do and that is handle inferior competition. They had a glorified scrimmage tonight against the Wizards in preparation for the Heat Sunday night leading wire to wire and never being in danger of losing. With the win the Knicks not only improved their record to 31-28, they also moved into 7th place in the Eastern Conference because they own the tiebreaker with the Philadelphia 76ers who lost tonight. The Knicks are now 3 games behind the Boston Celtics for the Atlantic Division crown and the same amount of games behind the Orlando Magic for 6th place in the Conference.
-Stifling Defensive Effort
Since Mike Woodson took over as head coach, the Knicks have been a top three defensive team in the NBA, giving up an average of 90.3 points per game. Tonight was no difference as they set the tone early giving up only 13 first quarter points. The Wizards managed to score at least 20 points in only one quarter tonight, shooting woefully from the start. The Knicks held the Wizards to 27.8% shooting and were able to hold John Wall in check.
Wall managed only 8 points on 2-12 shooting and was not able to get into the open floor where he excels. The Knicks also forced Wall into 7 turnovers, something he has to improve upon if he is to live up to his potential. The Knicks were able to force 21 total turnovers as a team as the Wizards lived up to their billing of being one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA.
-Carmelo Stays Hot
Carmelo Anthony continued his hot streak tonight with 18 points on 8-17 shooting in 29 minutes. He could have easily scored 30 tonight but for once the Knicks did not need him to, instead resting him and the rest of the starters for a majority of the 2nd half. Anthony also added 5 rebounds in his limited minutes, as the Wizards just do not have the manpower to matchup with someone of Anthony’s talent.
-Efficiency from the Point Guard
Baron Davis has been struggling recently because of a number of nagging injuries and has started to show his age. Tonight, on his birthday, he looked re-energized and ready to go. Davis scored 18 points and did it from all over the court. He went 4-5 from 3-point range and also had a number of drives in the paint that resulted in baskets. Davis showed explosiveness to the basket tonight, something even he says has been missing recently from his game.
When the Knicks are playing well it starts with the defense. Blowouts like tonight occur when you mix that defensive effort with lights out perimeter shooting. The Knicks shot 14-29 from 3-point land tonight compared to 4-20 from the Wizards. Baron Davis was the only start to knock down a 3, going 4-5 from deep. J.R. Smith and Steve Novak paced the bench unit, combined for 7-16 from 3-point range and combined for 41 points off the bench. Mike Bibby added some perimeter scoring as well, knocking down 2 of his own 3-point shots. When the Knicks are knocking down 3-point shots they are a very tough team to beat.
Next up for the Knicks is a meeting with the big 3 from South Beach in the Miami Heat. The Heat have struggled recently against top tier defensive teams, which the Knicks currently are. The Knicks will look to continue this trend Sunday afternoon at 1:00 P.M. at the Garden.
Friday April 13, 2012 7:30 P.M. ET
Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks
The Knicks were able to breathe a sigh of relief after Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. They enter tonight 2 games ahead of the Bucks with 8 games remaining in the regular season. Washington is the first game of a 3 game home stand for the Knicks, who currently sport a 30-28 record, sitting a game behind the Philadelphia 76ers for 7th place in the Eastern Conference and controlling their own destiny. After these games at home, the Knicks return to the road for a 3 game trip.
-Avoid a Letdown
Tonight is a prototypical trap game for the Knicks. After not only having that huge win Wednesday night, the Knicks remaining home stand features the Miami Heat on Sunday and the Boston Celtics right after that. All complacency needs to be left at the door when the players and staff enter the building. They can not afford to come out flat against this Wizard team because they are looking ahead on the schedule and past today. Bound for the lottery, the Wizards are out to just spoil their opponents plans from here on out. Losing tonight would ruin all the momentum and good feelings built from the victory Wednesday.
The Knicks have been struggling to get consistent guard play from their backcourt since Jeremy Lin went down with an injury. Iman Shumpert is still a rookie and has been inconsistent throughout the season on the offensive end but delivering on defense every night. The other problem is Baron Davis, who has been battling through injuries for the Knicks but is visible being affected by them. Tonight does not get any easier for the Knicks as they have to figure out a way to slow down dynamo John Wall.
Wall is lightning quick and is a one man fast break. He can get up and down the court with the best of them. This has to be something the Knicks need to contain as the Wizards go as Wall does.
The Knicks were unable to slow down the Milwaukee Bucks backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis as a whole, but whoever was being guarded by Shumpert was held in check. Watch for Shumpert to shadow Wall almost all night just as he did to Derrick Rose on Easter Sunday.
-Get the Early Lead
It would be beneficial for the Knicks to come out strong tonight and build a big early lead. The earlier they are able to put away the Wizards the better it will be. The Knicks have a tough game Sunday afternoon against the Miami Heat and could use all the rest they can get.
Carmelo Anthony has been carrying the team for the last 9 games since Amar’e Stoudemire and Lin went down with injuries, averaging 30 points per game on 50% shooting. How much longer will he be able to play at such a high level with a compressed schedule and no consistent sidekick? Multiple times Anthony could be seen grabbing at his right hand, his shooting hand, as the Bucks played him very physical. He could use all the rest he can get.
Tyson Chandler is another person the Knicks would not mind sitting out a portion of the game tonight if the game is in hand. Chandler has been dealing with a number of injuries all season including his wrist, shoulder and groin. Chandler is the heart and soul of the Knicks defense, meaning a loss of him would be devastating for the Knicks. As Carmelo Anthony sets the offensive tone, Chandler does the same on defense.
Without either of those players the Knicks would struggle so any rest they can get for those two would be beneficial.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Is anyone else as excited as I am for the Rangers to begin their Stanley Cup quest tonight?!?! The last time they were the number one seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, they won the Cup! This could be the year they bring the Cup back to New York and establish themselves as the best team in hockey once again. I'm sick pf hearing about Crosby, Malkin and the Penguins. Did anyone happen to see the Pens blow a 3-0 lead last night in Game 1 against the Flyers? Fast start, but couldn't hold on. LET'S GO RANGERS!!!
It's about time the Knicks acted like they must win a game this year. It seems like they have been content on sitting in that number 8 spot the entire season, and want to play the Bulls in the first round. To be honest, I wouldn't mind playing the Bulls, because the Knicks seem to give them a few problems even with Derrick Rose. Still it was nice to see them recover last night in the fourth quarter after playing down to the Bucks the entire game. If the Knicks want to go anywhere in the playoffs, the rest of the team must be able to rebound and score. It can't be Tyson on the boards and Melo scoring all the points.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Final Score: New York Knicks 111 Milwaukee Bucks 107
Tonight was a game the Knicks desperately needed and they responded as so. The Knicks can breathe a slight sigh of a relief as they salvaged the season series against the Bucks and expanded their lead to 2 games over them for 8th place in the Eastern Conference with 8 games remaining in the regular season. The Knicks got off to a hot start and had to fight off a game Bucks squad the rest of the evening. It was a great team effort tonight, but they can not take it easy until that playoff spot is locked up and secure.
-Carmelo Being Carmelo
Carmelo Anthony again came up big for the Knicks, continuing his hot April. He scored 32 points tonight to pace the Knicks on the offensive end but also impacted the game in other aspects. Anthony finished the game with 10 rebounds and continued to show great effort on the defensive end. When your superstar is willing to play defense and give it his all, it sets the tone for the rest of the team. It is one thing to say how you would like to play; it is another thing to show it. Tonight, Anthony showed it and led his team in a must win game.
-Resiliency from J.R. Smith
J.R. Smith had a tough first half, struggling from the field and making a number of bone-headed plays on defense. But he did not let that affect him and came up biggest when the Knicks needed him. Smith knocked down what would turn out to be the game winning shot with 1:04 left in the 4th quarter, knocking down a 3 pointer as the man defending him went underneath a screen.
It was quite an ending for Smith who has struggled in Milwaukee throughout his career, evident by the career 35.4% shooting percentage in the Bradley Center entering tonight. It looked as if tonight would be another one of those nights, as the first half started with a thud. Smith was single handily responsible for running the Knicks offense into the ground, stalling all momentum the team had built. This resulted in 1-4 shooting in the half, 2 bad fouls and a -16 rating as the Knicks blew a 14 point lead.
Credit will deservedly be given to Smith for his heroics, but credit also has to be given to the coaching staff and Mike Woodson. Seeing a player struggle like Smith was you would understand the coaching staff giving up on him and putting him on the bench for the remainder of the game. But they showed confidence in Smith and Smith repaid them in as well a fashion as possible.
-Strong Second Scorer
The Knicks need to find a consistent second scorer behind Carmelo Anthony. Amar’e Stoudemire is improving, but is still considered to be some time away and Jeremy Lin is not expected to return unless the Knicks make a deep playoff run.
Tonight, the scoring came from an unlikely source in Tyson Chandler. In addition to the 11 rebounds Chandler had and countless shots he changed, he scored 19 points on the night. It was an impressive 19 points from Chandler as he scored at least two times creating his own shot, and was perfect in the game from anywhere on the court (6-6 FG and 7-7 FT). It would be nice for Tyson Chandler to provide that offense on a nightly basis, but he is much more important to the Knicks on the defensive end of the court.
-Controlled the Paint, not the Perimeter
The Knicks were able to keep the Bucks off the glass pretty well tonight, as the actually held a slight rebounding edge over the Bucks in the game, out rebounding them 42-39. The Knicks were also able to limit the Bucks second chance opportunities and outscored the Bucks 50-46 in the paint. It was a good performance for the Knicks to build on in the paint, but the perimeter defense was a disaster.
After holding Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis to 8-36 shooting for a combined 19 points and 9 assists, the Bucks backcourt exploded in the game tonight. Jennings and Ellis were as explosive as ever since becoming a tandem tonight. They combined for 24-45 from the field, scoring from everywhere on the court. They combined for 57 points and 17 assists this time around, running circles around the Knicks defense. They were able to take advantage of the switching that the Knicks rely so heavily on while playing defense and were able to take advantage by scoring themselves and getting their teammates involved. The Knicks will need to step up their defensive pressure not only to make the playoffs but if they believe they can actually accomplish something if they make it that far.
The next game for the Knicks is Friday night as they return home to face the Washington Wizards. The game starts at 7:30 P.M. ET.
Wednesday April 11, 2012 8:00 P.M. ET
New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks
The Knicks are right back at it tonight in what is their most important game of the season to date. The Bucks trail the Knicks by 1 game in the Eastern Conference playoff race and tonight will go a long way in deciding who actually will make the playoffs. The Bucks won 2 of the first 3 meetings between the teams this season, so this is as much of a must win regular season game as the Knicks will have all year. The schedule only gets more brutal after tonight as the Knicks have to play the Heat and Celtics in their next two games. As if they didn’t have enough pressure on them already, knowing the remaining schedule should add even more.
-Who Steps up Tonight?
The Knicks need someone to step up next to Carmelo Anthony. You know what you are going to get from Anthony, but there needs to be another option next to him for the Knicks to succeed. It is always tougher to win on the road, so taking some of the pressure off Anthony will be something the Knicks have to do if they want to come away with what will be a tough victory in a playoff atmosphere.
The team defense has been a total team effort; they now just have to pull it together on offense. Fans get mesmerized watching Anthony play offense, and at times so do his teammates. "The guys that we need to be aggressive on the offensive end and take those shots, we need them to do that," he said after the Bulls game. "We were passing up open shots out there that guys should have taken. We can't pass that up.”
-Can Knicks Control the Boards?
The Bucks are a very physical team even playing a smaller lineup. The Knicks will need to stay poised in what will be a very hostile environment because they have to assume the Bucks will come out firing on all cylinders wanting to get into the playoffs. The Knicks need to show they want to be there also.
Much like the Bulls team the Knicks played last night, the Bucks are very good on the offensive glass and scoring on second opportunities (the Bucks average 12.5 and 14.9, both ranked 5th in the league). Amar’e Stoudemire was out in the last match up as well, so the Knicks are capable of controlling the glass without their big man. They will be without him once again tonight and a team effort will be needed to pick up the slack. Some playing time for Josh Harrellson would go along way in cleaning the glass for the Knicks.
-Can the Backcourt Keep Up?
The Bucks had always lacked an explosive scorer to go along with Brandon Jennings. That is no longer a problem as they traded for scoring dynamo Monta Ellis at the trade deadline. It was hard enough for the Knicks to stop Brandon Jennings and now they have to figure out how to stop Monta Ellis as well.
Iman Shumpert will play a big role in containing both Jennings and Ellis. Look for J.R. Smith and Jared Jeffries to also get opportunities in trying to stop the dynamic Bucks backcourt.
-Close out Quarters
The Knicks will need to do their best in ending quarters with strong finishes. They are successful when they are able to do so. This also coincides with not having long stretches in which they struggle to score. If the Knicks go on prolonged droughts of scoring like last night against the Bulls, it will be a struggle. They can not afford to fall down big in the game tonight like they did last night.
One reason they have not been successful at the end of quarters is because the bench has not been playing up to par recently. Steve Novak is on the second longest drought of his career, missing his last 9 shot attempts, going 2 straight games without a 3 pointer. The Knicks rely on his 3 point shooting to give them a spark, and it has been missing recently. J.R. Smith also needs to find his shot more consistently. He has decent scoring outputs, but it’s because of the high volume of shots he takes. Efficient scoring for Smith would go a long way for the Knicks because he is capable of being that second option to Carmelo Anthony.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Final Score: New York Knicks 86 Chicago Bulls 98
Tonight the Knicks say first hand that the Bulls are tough even without reigning MVP Derrick Rose in the lineup. Rose sat out tonight’s game with a right ankle injury, and quite truthfully the Bulls did not need him. Chicago still played their way of basketball, tough on the defensive end and grind it out, slow pace on the offensive end. The loss tonight was a devastating one for the Knicks, who fall to 29-28 and back into 8th place in the Eastern Conference. They now only have a 1 game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks going into their match up Wednesday night.
-Where’s the Windex at?
The Knicks got hammered on the boards tonight by the Bulls to the tune of being out rebounded 51-33. The difference on the offensive glass was even more nauseating for Knicks fans, as the Bulls held an 18-5 edge there.
The domination for Bulls did not finish there, as they easily out scored the Knicks 25-5 on second chance points and 40-28 in the paint.
When Kyle Korver is rebounding well against you it just is not your night. The Knicks lacked a rebounding presence tonight from anyone not named Tyson Chandler. It is one aspect of the game the Knicks will need to clean up down the end of the season. We know they are undersized and playing through injuries, there just has to be a more concentrated effort on the glass. When the Knicks are able to control the paint and pace, the results are much more positive than tonight.
-Ice Cold Offense
At times throughout the games, the Knicks look like a well oiled machine. Their offense hums like the engine of a sports car and they look unbeatable. They are working together as a unit and are cohesive. Then there are times where they are as cold as the arctic from the field. Tonight had more arctic than sports car.
The Knicks suffered through many of these cold spells tonight. To start the game they went 0-6 from the field and to start the 2nd quarter they missed 10 of their first 11 shot attempts. The bad start in the 2nd quarter led to the Bulls getting the lead back and holding onto it for the remainder of the evening. The 3rd quarter did not go much better, as the Knicks went on a nearly 8 minute span of scoring only 2 baskets. The Bulls do have a very good defense, but the Knicks certainly helped them look the part tonight.
-Batman Needs a Sidekick
Carmelo Anthony has done everything and more on the offensive end since injuries purged the Knicks roster. He scored another 29 points tonight, going 11-19 from the field. It was Melo or bust for the Knicks tonight, and they busted. Anthony did everything he could but could not beat the Bulls for 2 consecutive games by himself. Finding that consistent scorer behind Anthony has been a struggle for the Knicks since Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin went down with injuries. There are people who say the Knicks are better off with only one of the superstars, but anyone who seriously believes that is an idiot. The Knicks are much better off with their full allotment of players compared to how they are now.
Is this the real Knicks bench, or just an aberration from how they had been playing in the past weeks? It has been slightly overlooked because of how well Carmelo Anthony has been playing, but it is something to keep an eye on. With all the injuries, some players roles have been changed but the two key players off the bench, Steve Novak and J.R. Smith have hit a lull in their play.
Novak has spoiled us with his shooting prowess since being inserted into the lineup, but has hit a cold spell. He has not hit a 3 pointer in the last 2 games. The shots just are not falling for him because he is still getting open looks, he just can’t get them to go through the basket.
As for J.R. Smith, his numbers look good but taking a deeper look will show you the truth. He is the definition of a streak shooter, and it shows when you take that deeper look. He has good scoring totals for a player off the bench, but does 15 points really sound that good when it is on 14 shot attempts? If J.R. Smith is able to become a more efficient scorer it will not only help the Knicks but help himself in the long run.
The Knicks get back at it tomorrow night with a quick turnaround. They will be playing in Milwaukee against the Bucks in what could be the Knicks most important game of the season. The game starts at 8:00 P.M. ET on ESPN.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:30 P.M. ET
New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls
After an excitement filled thrilling game Sunday afternoon, the Knicks and Bulls are back at it to finish their home and home series tonight in Chicago. The Knicks have been rekindling rivalries with teams over the last 2 seasons, and it’s safe to say the Bulls are one of those teams. The Knicks currently sit in 7th place in the Eastern Conference, tied with the 76ers and a game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks. Tonight will be the 4th and final meeting between the Bulls and Knicks for the regular season, but could match up in the first round of the playoffs if everything falls into place.
The injury front for the Knicks has gotten murkier since Sunday. Tyson Chandler was seen at points with heavy wrapping of ice on his elbow, something that will be monitored since he is also dealing with wrist and groin injuries. Jared Jeffries returned Sunday for the Knicks and did not report any negatives, so he will be a go for tonight.
The Bulls on the other hand could be without Derrick Rose tonight. He was seen in a walking boot last night, but no longer was wearing it today. Rose did not participate in the morning shoot around with his teammates and is appearing unlikely to play tonight. Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau says Rose will be a game-time decision. The Knicks would be lucky to have Rose not play, but the Bulls are very deep and are 15-7 this season without Rose.
-Attack the Basket
The Knicks heavily relied on jump shots in Sunday’s meeting with the Bulls. It worked in the 1st quarter when the Knicks were able to open up a 27-6 lead. After that, the shooting became less and less efficient, scoring less points every quarter after that allowing the Bulls to get back into the game and take the lead at the end of the 3rd quarter. It would be beneficial for the Knicks to attack the basket more and get to the foul line.
The Knicks are an above average free throw shooting team, and have players capable of getting to the line at will. If they are able to put pressure on the Bulls front line it will go a long way. Attacking the basket will also allow the Knicks to open up the Bulls defense. If they are attacking the basket with efficiency, the wings and guards of the Bulls are going to have to come off their assignments opening up open jumpers instead of contested ones.
-Fields Disappearance Act
Early in games recently Landry Fields has made impacts on the game. But once the second half comes around, Fields turns into a different player. Woodson does like playing J.R. Smith in favor of Fields because he can help run the Point, but the real reason is because of the liability Fields is shooting the ball.
In the 2nd half the defense picks up and timely baskets are a must, something Fields has struggled with. Also when the game is coming down the stretch, Fields hurts the team at the free throw line, shooting a putrid 57% from the foul line. If Fields can improve his jump shooting he will see more time on the court. Until then he will continue to start games but watch from the bench at the end of them.
-Carmelo Anthony’s Heroics
Carmelo Anthony has done exactly what he said he would when Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin went down with injuries, which is carry the team. Anthony has lived up to the billing knocking down countless number of clutch shots and scoring a large portion of the Knicks points. He has also become more engaged on the defensive end, showing effort he had not shown prior while playing for the Knicks. While it is a sight to see for fans, they also have to wonder how long can this keep up?
Anthony is more than willing to shoulder the offensive load, but he will need a sidekick to score along with him. Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith right now seem the most capable with Tyson Chandler mixed in, but they have to do it on a more consistent basis.
Smith has averaged 13 points in his last 5 games, but is taking almost 6 3 pointers and 14 shots a game in that period. Smith is the definition of a streak shooter, but needs to find a way to be more consistent. It would go a long way for him and the Knicks if he could.
As for Shumpert, he has improved upon his shooting after working with Allan Houston recently on his release. Shumpert has all the talent in the world; he just needs to harness it. His shot selection is suspect right now, and will improve with more time playing since he still is a rookie. He had back to back 25 point games against Atlanta and Orlando a few weeks back, but other than that has been inconsistent.
Consistency is key not only for Shumpert and Smith, but the whole Knicks team. It will take more than one person to get this team into the playoffs and to succeed.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Final Score: Chicago Bulls 99 New York Knicks 100 OT
This afternoon’s game had all the intensity and energy of a playoff game. The Garden was buzzing like it hasn’t buzzed in what seems forever. The Knicks opened up a huge lead, going ahead 27-6 in the first quarter but relinquished the lead throughout the rest of the game, becoming less and less efficient as the game went on. Carmelo Anthony would not let the Knicks lose the game this afternoon, willing the Knicks to a win with clutch shooting throughout the game. With the win the Knicks are now 29-27, holding onto a playoff spot. They moved into 7th place with the 76ers falling into the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference after losing later in the night.
-Carmelo Anthony Brings His “A” Game
Carmelo Anthony came to New York because he wasn’t afraid of the pressure that came with it and wanted to succeed on the biggest of stages. That is exactly what he did this afternoon against the Bulls, having his best game so far in his Knicks career. Anthony started the game aggressive, going 5-5 in the first quarter en route to 12 points, and didn’t let up the entire game. Anthony finished with 43 points 7 rebounds and 3 assists, willing the Knicks to the victory tonight. He knocked down two huge 3 pointers in the 4th quarter and overtime, the first getting them into the extra period and the 2nd giving the Knicks the lead with 8 seconds remaining. Anthony seems to have regained his touch and is playing basketball like the Carmelo Anthony Knick fans thought they were getting from Denver.
-Team Effort on Defense
The Knicks knew they were going to have their hands full with MVP Derrick Rose, but they laid forth a plan to stop him and executed it as well as Mike Woodson could have hoped for. Iman Shumpert and Tyson Chandler anchored the strong defense that revolved around stopping the Bulls biggest threat in Rose. Rose was forced to shoot a below average 8-26 (30.7%) and commit a very uncharacteristic 7 turnovers. Rose had missed the previous 12 games because of a strained groin, and the Knicks took advantage of him being out of rhythm.
-Contain the Bulls Second Opportunities
In the last meeting between these two teams, the Knicks were unable to match the inside presence of the Bulls, getting dominated on the glass. Today was no different, as the Bulls out rebounded the Knicks 59-47; the difference laid in the second chance opportunities. The Bulls were tied for tops in the NBA in second chance scoring heading into the match up today, led by Joakim Noah, who is one of the best offensive rebounders in the NBA. The Knicks were able to limit him to only 2 second chance points in the game tonight, which went a long way in the Knicks being able to hang on while still being shorthanded and undersized.
-Too Much Perimeter Play, Diverging from the Game Plan
The Knicks were able to build a big lead to start the game against the Bulls, which ended up being the deciding factor in the game. The Knicks relied too heavily on their jump shooting today, which got them into trouble after the opening quarter in which Carmelo Anthony carried them. For large portions of the game there was no offense being ran by the Knicks, just a lot of one-on-one play resulting in contested jump shots and empty possessions.
The Knicks also got away from their defensive game plan in the 2nd half. It resembled more of the meltdown against the Pacers last week than the stifling defense the Knicks showed at the start of the game when they jumped out to a 27-6 lead in the first quarter. The slower rotations, thought to be from fatigue, allowed the Bulls to get open looks from 3 point land and they took advantage. The Knicks were able to get stops when needed, and eventually pulled out the tough, hard fought victory.
-More Injury Concerns
Right as the Knicks get a person back from injury in Jared Jeffries, they have another active player suffering injuries. Tyson Chandler has been battling all types of injuries all season, and seemed to suffer another one in the game this afternoon. He was seen wearing heavy ice packs on his elbow while sitting on the bench. This is something to monitor in the coming days because there is only so much pain one person can take. Chandler is a tough player and will not complain about the injuries so you can only hope for the best and that he does not miss any game time.
The next game for the Knicks is against these same Bulls Tuesday night in Chicago at 9:30 P.M. ET
Sunday, April 8, 2012 1:00 P.M. ET
Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks
The Knicks continue their tough stretch of games this afternoon, in the first game of a home and home series against the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks are coming off another blow-out win of the Orlando Magic on Thursday night and look to continue their hot play of late. This is the 3rd meeting of the season between the Knicks and Bulls, with the Bulls taking the first 2 games. Each of the first 2 games was close, coming right down to the end.
This afternoon, both the Knicks and Bulls are expected to have people return to their lineups. The Bulls are expecting MVP Derrick Rose to return this afternoon from his 12 game hiatus because of a strained groin. It could not have been worse timing for the Knicks, but they have some players of their own returning that should help the cause. Jared Jeffries is expected to play on Sunday, giving the Knicks another defender to throw at Derrick Rose. Bill Walker is also expected to see his role expand, as he received only 16 seconds of token garbage time against the Magic on Thursday.
-Contain Derrick Rose
The Knicks have struggled all season containing the opposing teams’ guards, more specifically the Point Guard. Derrick Rose has been no exception, going for 32 points in each game. It was not the easiest 32 points in his career, but 32 points is still 32 points and the Knicks have to find a way to better contain him. With Iman Shumpert now in the starting lineup, the defensive assignments will be something to watch throughout the game. The emergence of J.R. Smith off the bench and the return of Jared Jeffries gives the Knicks plenty of capable defenders to throw at Rose throughout the game.
-Control the Paint
With Amar’e Stoudemire being out, the Knicks have gone with a small starting lineup. It is something that works against certain teams like the Magic, Bucks, and Cavaliers who do not employ the most conventional lineups such as the Knicks. But the Bulls play bruising Power Forward Carlos Boozer and high energy Center Joakim Noah. The Knicks will have their hands full throughout the game with those two, and will need a collective effort from everyone in controlling the paint. Again, the return of Jared Jeffries can not be overstated because this is yet another area in which his return will be a great help in. The Bulls are one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA, dominating the Knicks on the glass in the last meeting between the two teams which ultimately led to the Knicks demise.
The Bulls bench has gotten some great experience because of injuries throughout the season to the starting lineup. They have more than serviceable big man Taj Gibson, sharp shooter Kyle Korver, and battle tested Ronnie Brewer. The Knicks bench will have to bring energy and toughness tonight to match-up with the Bulls tonight. Look for J.R. Smith and Steve Novak to come out firing to contend with the lack of size the Knicks have in the middle.