A lot of new things for the New York Knicks, but not enough, as Carmelo Anthony faced the team he should have signed with, the Chicago Bulls, and looked terrible, like the rest of his teammates, losing at home 104-80, while Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson did a very good job in hiding the fact that Derrick Rose was far from his best.
It’s hard to say there’s anything surprising about the New York Knicks playing so badly on their opening night, at home, against a rival like the Chicago Bulls. Most of the times these big bad things happen to the Knicks it goes down in front of their home fans. So there’s nothing new about a 24-point loss, at home, against a team that was the other big option to sign Carmelo Anthony, only they couldn’t offer him the kind of money he wanted and got from the Knicks.
Anthony led the Knicks with 14 points, as only he and Amare Stoudemire finished with more than 10 points. The triangle offense has been associated with two legendary teams – the 90’s Bulls and the early 00’s Lakers. And yet it needs a certain amount of talent to make it work. The New York Knicks, despite having the Phil Jackon factor at the top of the organization, aren’t even close to being a team that seems to have what it takes in order to click on a talent-based offensive system.
The Chicago Bulls don’t always play the most easy-on-the-eyes offense. Flow and smoothness isn’t always part of the deal. But they have smart players making decisions with the ball, and this summer seemed to have been a successful one, as a previously limited team all of a sudden has plenty of options to change up the way they score, with outside shooting and the ability to attack the paint with more than just one player.
Jimmy Butler wasn’t playing due to a sprained left thumb which put Kirk Hinrich in the lineup. The veteran guard scored 12 points, including three 3-pointers. Derrick Rose, the man with all the eyes on him, trying to see if he’s great again, just good or worse, scored 13 points, struggling with his outside shot. The Bulls don’t need Rose to score all the points and take care of the offense on his own. That might be a huge difference compared to past versions.
Rose played only 21 minutes, and the big run the Bulls made usually happened when Aaron Brooks was on the floor, providing a very useful backup point guard option. Brooks scored 13 points to go with five assists, while rookie Doug McDermott helped out with 12, hitting 2-of-5 shots from beyond the arc. The big stars for the Bulls were newcomer Pau Gasol with 21 points and Taj Gibson, with 22 points in 28 minutes.
For the Knicks? Nothing, or close to it. They got nothing from their bench, shot 36.7% from the field and had an awful contribution from Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr. and J.R. Smith, with the trio shooting a combined 6-of-29 from the field. It’s one game, but it looked more than bad. It looked like a team that’s not prepared for what this season is going to bring, or meeting the expectations from them. It was made even worse by a title contender that looked like a team with all the tools to go all the way in the East.