Bulls at Knicks at 11am on ESPN/WGN - Thomas to start

Am I the only one who reads headlines like "Thomas to continue starting" and thinks "We traded Tyrus away!".    Probably.   The Chicago Bulls head out on the road on Christmas day to take on the New York Knicks.  

Am I the only one who finds it odd that the Knicks received the home game for this matchup?   Wouldn't the Bulls have been considered the more marquee team in preseason?   Granted, the Knicks have exceeded expectations while the Bulls have met them, but I would have thought in preseason the Bulls would have deserved the honor of hosting.

Must be that second city paranoia coming out. 

  

In the first matchup, the Bulls held Amare in check, which wasn't particularly unusual at the time as he started the season off slowly.  However, the Knicks went on fire shooting 75% from the three point line while the game mattered and simply beat the Bulls entirely based on their three point shooting.

The Bulls will now be missing Joakim Noah but will have Carlos Boozer for the matchup.   The Knicks are unlikely to shoot as well, but have Amare Stoudemire playing at an MVP level.

For that matter, this matchup highlights a couple of MVP candidates in Rose vs Amare.  Given the national attention the game deserves, don't be surprised if it helps swing some votes from one side based on the results. 

Keys to the game

Taj Gibson needs to contain Amare

With Joakim out, there simply is no one else.  Kurt Thomas has done an admirable job of roughly guys up around the paint, but he sure as heck isn't chasing Amare around the perimeter or shutting down an Amare/Felton pick and roll.   Carlos Boozer has played great offensively, but his defense isn't anything to write home about.

The Bulls need a healthy dose of high energy Taj Gibson to slow Amare and still need to send plenty of help.

Cover up the shooters

While the Knicks are unlikely to crush the Bulls from the three point line to the level they did last game, they're still a very good three point shooting team.   The Bulls need to get out and cover the perimeter.   In fact, the majority of the Knicks want to just hang around the perimeter particularly in the D'Antoni offense.   Try and force long twos rather than catch and shoot threes.

There are some teams you need to defend the three point line against nearly as vigorously as the paint, and the Knicks are one of those teams.   Last game, the Bulls did an excellent job of shutting down the paint, and the Knicks hit many contested threes, but the Bulls need to rotate just a shade tighter to contest a bit more strongly this time around.

Beat them up inside

The Knicks don't have a lot of strong interior players.   Amare has the physical capability, but he doesn't have the heart for it.   A healthy dose of Boozer in the low post is likely to generate a whole lot of points and soften up the defense for Derrick Rose to do this thing. 

Derrick Rose should have plenty of success driving to the basket, against one of the more porous defenses in the NBA as well.  

Final thoughts

The Knicks and Bulls are both playing quality basketball.   Though the Knicks have lost a few games recently, one was a tenth of a second away from a win against Boston, and another was to Miami.   They're at home, they're rested, and they're healthier than we are.

Missing Noah for this game really hurts as his type of defense is particularly well suited to a team that launches a lot of shots from the perimeter.

That said, the Bulls have the offensive weapons to really take it to the Knicks.   I think the game could go either way, but if I was putting money on it, I'd probably take the Knicks at home when the Bulls are without Noah.

Comments

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  • Toney Douglas killed us last time (30Pts - 5 3's) however this doubled his best output in all but one game this year. I hate when players, who against everyone else are very average, look like all-stars against the Bulls. That game also found Gallinari breaking out of his slump (that seems to happen alot against us as well). Hopefully we can bring the "D" early this game, not the Bulls norm so far this year. Give shooters some confidence and they often light you up all night (thought Nick Young was going to keep it going all game and we were lucky that Lewis never did cause he sure had many open looks as well).

    Hopefully playing one of the nationally televised Christmas games will fire the team up, I know I will be. Merry Christmas.

  • Nick Young sucks, he folded like a lawn chair against the Bulls.

    Alos he single handedly lost the Wizard a huge upset against Miami. Lebron took it from him for a dunk and then James Jones took it from him and he fouled him, sending him to the line to give Miami the vistory. Miami had no chance to win if the Wiz just hold on to the ball, but Nick Young is a disaster in waiting.

  • In reply to Hendu0520:

    Hendu,

    You are still CLUELESS.

    Nick Young sucked his way to 22 points vs. the Bulls.

    When you GET A CLUE let me know. I suspect I'll be waiting awhile.

  • The Bulls better beat the Knicks cause I live in New York and have been talking shit all year waiting for Today's game. DRose should have his 1st 40 point game today.

    Merry Christmas Bulls Fans, Go Bulls!

  • In reply to Hendu0520:

    SPECIAL MESSAGE:

    Happy holidays to Doug and all the fans of this blog.

    Stay safe, have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the game.

    Go Bulls!!!

  • In reply to Hendu0520:

    A "revenge" game. The bulls owe the knicks for how the knicks surprised and embarrassed the bulls and the bulls get their shot to even the score. The bulls took care of the Lakers and the Thunder, but didn't get it done against the C's the second time.

    Missing Noah doesn't hurt nearly as much against the Knicks because they are playing small most of the time anyway and the bulls will have to play efficiently "big" to take advantage. If Boozer gets off to a quick start I think the bulls handle the Knicks fairly easily. If the bulls let the Knicks get as many open looks as they did last game and don't get out and challenge shots until the third quarter the bulls lose again. I don't expect Thibs to let that happen though.

  • In reply to Hendu0520:

    Another key to the game: Make free throws!

  • In reply to Hendu0520:

    Still giving up too many three's but it is the pick and rolls weakside help "D" that looked lost in the first half. Nice that I can think the Bulls haven't played that well and still be up but leaving an oppponent in a game is dangerous. Hope Deng can get it going on offense in the second half.

  • In reply to Hendu0520:

    MERRY XMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO EVERYONE! Bulls looking good so far for the holiday national TV audience. Hope they keep up the score of the Knicks low with playing good D, and gotta love Noah representing the Bulls with red pants and black shirt. Let's go Bulls... need a payback win for the earlier loss to the Knicks.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    You really think they have looked good so far?

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    compared to the last game against the Knicks and while playing at MSG, yes they are looking good.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    At the half,
    This is a good game to watch. A spirited, contested game with pretty good defense and the refs seems to be letting the players play.

    Rose and Boozer are carrying the team with 30 combined points, and Bulls starting wings scored a combined 2 points. Can the Bulls roster weakness be any more apparent? Or the folly of playing of Bogans?

    Bulls bench is playing well. Korver's two 3s were crucial. Kurt Thomas doing a decent job with single coverage on Amare.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    Knicks too good from the perimeter, where is Deng? Defense at the perimeter needs to tighten up. Man to man D....

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    Knicks too good from the perimeter, where is Deng? Defense at the perimeter needs to tighten up. Man to man D....

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    Knicks trying to run and gun, Bulls need to slow the pace of the game.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    My fault, meant to say Bulls need to keep the Knicks score low and tighten up on D.

  • Yeah imagine if Rose had the Knicks shooters to play with. Deng not on the 3 yet today. Bogans just sucks.

  • wtf is this garbage,

  • Too many points for the end of the 3rd. This is the Knicks pace.

  • 63% from 3. We learned nothing from last game.

  • Turiaf and Amare should consider taking some 3's, everyone else on their team can't miss.

  • same garbage, this is trademark dantoni chucking style, somehow the bulls are getting struck by lighting twice

  • rose playing like shit right now

  • This Bulls team is a 5 or 6 seed and a first round exit in the playoffs. Rose cannot be the only one doing shit on the floor for us.

  • In reply to Vedo:

    Can't imagine them not winning their division but I can see them 4seed having more trouble with the Knicks in the 1st round if that is the matchup.

  • In reply to Vedo:

    Very frustrating loss cause the Knicks act like they really did something big here. I know they got the win against the Bulls but they won this game cause the Bulls could not keep up with the pace and scoring.

  • In reply to Vedo:

    losing to the knicks really makes one want to throw up, you feel cheated in a certain way, cause you usually have to beat yourself to lose or have them go on a bogus three point barrage

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    But the Knicks 3pt shooting is not bogus, its legitimate!
    Knicks have SIX 3pt shooters on their roster and average 25 3pt attempts per game. Given any daylight those shooters will hit those 3s - and they saw plenty of daylight today and last month in Chicago.

    Knicks are now the Phoenix Suns East with D'Antoni-Amare-Felton and a cast of young athletic shooters.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Bulls road as far as they could on the backs of Rose and Boozer. This Bulls roster does not have the wings to truly contend. When GarPax finds a way to add a legitimate 3rd scoring option to star alongside Rose and Boozer is the day we fans can start to think about contending.

    I'm not saying GarPax has an easy task - no one said building a contender was easy. I'm just saying that's the reality.

  • In reply to Vedo:

    Leave a comment...ll in all a horrible christmas present from the bulls, maybe they were homesick

  • In reply to Vedo:

    Merry Christmas to every one

    I'm not going to accept the JO excuse for this game, we got most of the rebound. This lost talk a lot about our bench and our offencive ineptitude (except Rose of course). Doug, I hope you dont think anymore that this bulls team is better than the knicks, even with JO

    Even if Melo wanted to come the bulls, today kills it. If it was not already dead. The knicks package is obviously much, I said MUCH, better than any thing we could put togheter

  • Knicks 3pt 60% Bulls FT 55%

  • cant watch this anymore

  • game over.........

  • losing to the knicks twice has to be a low point for the season

  • one of rose's worst games of the year, outplayed by a little ball of a point guard

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Can't blame him. He doesn't have anything to play with.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    A game like this in the 4th AND only 4 points has been scored so far is where Deng or a good shooting guard is needed. Back to that old argument, Rose cannot do it alone, Boozer has gone cold, that third option is needed now!!!

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    OJ Mayo, where are you?

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Sure understand now why GarPax went after Reddick so hard. Seeing how Rudy has filled in in Portland is also disappointing. Hope they can address this before the trade deadline.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Bulls slowed the pace in the 4th but could not score when needed. The game was winable but the lack of trying to keep up with a team that can score from the perimeter and the 3 point line is what hurt the Bulls in this game. Inconsistency from the 3rd option is what got them this loss and playing the Knicks pace.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    whatever happened to taj gibson, is his confidence gone

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    So true, he just doesn't look like the Taj at the beginning of the year.

    Was anyone else as upset as I was at some of the non-calls when Rose was driving to the basket. I know he usually avoids contact, but there were numerous times when he was driving and some of the Knicks got his hand/arm, and no foul was called. There was also one or two non-calls when Boozer drove. I thought Amar'e should have been T'ed up for that late foul on Derrick in the 4th.

  • Absolute bullsh*t call. 3 goaltending blocks, plus shit call against Boozer.

  • Perhaps its on GarPax to trade Bogans as that's likely the only way Thibs will stop playing him. And additionally not guaranteeing Lucas' contract on January 10th.

    As you've stated in the past, Doug, the two 3s Korver hit in the first half were spot-up kickouts which he'll get more of alongside Rose.

    Korver cannot create his own shot, that's why he's never been a legitimate NBA starter though he and Brewer are all we've got at this point.

  • Bulls rode.... sorry for the typo.

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