The Chicago Bulls wish they can put a healthier team around Derrick Rose, as their tough start to the season continues after a day of rest from opening night as they host the New York Knicks, coming off a win in the first game of the season in a short Midwestern tour.
Rose scored only 12 points upon his return to the NBA as the Bulls lost to the Miami Heat 95-107, falling under a barrage of three pointers, struggling to fill in the ranks with Joakim Noah and Luol Deng playing less than expected, still carrying injuries from the preseason.
The New York Knicks didn’t play much better and possibly even worse, but they had a less worrying opponents to worry about, starting the season with a 90-83 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, getting 19 points from Carmelo Anthony, who took it a bit slower when it comes to the pace of shooting we’re used to see from him.
Facing a lesser defense than the one he saw against the Heat, Rose should start pulling off the numbers we’ve gotten used to seeing from him. He has averaged 27.8 points per game over his last nine games against the Knicks, and he’s averaging 24.7 against them in his career, his second-best against any team. With or without him, the Bulls have the Knicks’ number – they beat them four times last year, eight of the last nine overall and 20 of the last 23 at home.
There was that huge shot from Anthony a couple of years ago to give the Knicks a rare win over the Bulls, but New York aren’t the three point shooting team they were last season, and the Bulls have both Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng to put on Carmelo Anthony in an attempt to disturb him, while Raymond Felton should have a less easier time going off against the Bulls’ backcourt and its extra day of rest.
Tyson Chandler might be a key factor in this game as Joakim Noah isn’t completely healthy to start off the game, which might mean the Knicks center will have one less thing to worry about in his battles in the paint.
Prediction – The Knicks are sluggish, and will look like that all season, simply depending on the shooting day Anthony, Shumpert and others deliver. The Bulls have a bit more weapons and variety on their team, but even if this becomes a sloppy slug fest, they’re more equipped to win games like that.