Is it just me or has the dust settled on the Jeremy Lin hype? Perhaps we're just used to the story, or perhaps New York's five straight losses have taken the shine off of his play. I'll say this, Carmelo couldn't have been put into a worse situation than to have the Knicks make a huge run behind Lin that ends as soon as he returns to the lineup.
Lin isn't a premier athlete, and he's prone to getting blown up when defended by premier athletes. If Chicago pressures him with Rose or Brewer, Lin is going to become a turnover machine in this game, especially against a Bulls defense which typically makes the right rotations and stays home on opponents.
Lin still frequently jumps and decides what to do mid-air which causes him to throw the ball away frequently and can be harassed off the dribble. He's a crafty ball handler and decent shooter, but Chicago should be able to turn Lin's lack of ball protection into a monster game for the Chicago transition attack fairly easily.
Put Noah on Amare
(presuming Noah has recovered enough from the flu to play, otherwise the same thing applies with Asik or Gibson)
Carlos Boozer's giving up monster games to every opposing PF he goes up against. He's played well on offense recently which is nice, but he's getting crushed by opposing PFs as well. Tyson Chandler isn't much of an offensive threat, so if the Bulls swap Noah and Boozer's natural responsibilities around then they'll have Noah defending the high pick and roll rather than Boozer which should bode much better for Chicago.
Amare has become more reliant on the jumper out of the pick and roll this season, and Noah can hang with him on the perimeter while still protecting the drive whereas Boozer will get eaten alive out there.
A whole lot of Derrick driving
Rose should have little problem beating Lin off the dribble. The Knicks do have an athletic front court capable of providing plenty of help at the rim, but neither Chandler or Amare block shots at the rate their size and athleticism say they should, and once Rose beats the initial defender the opposing big man is in a tough spot to try to contest the shot without drawing a foul due to Derrick's quick change of direction.
I look for Rose to have a monster night and with the injuries Chicago has, they may need him to.
Where else does the offense come from?
Against the Jazz, Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver stepped up against their former team. Can Chicago count on either player to have a repeat performance tonight? Boozer's got one of those matchups against a more athletic, taller front court player in which he frequently struggles to get anything done in the lost post while Korver can be taken out of the game by simply focusing on where he is on the court and not leeting him get open.
If the Knicks can shut down those two players, Chicago will be in a tough spot to put points on the board unless Rose has a simply dominant game.
Bulls still find a way to win
Jeremy Lin's wins came against crap teams, and the question as to whether or not the Knicks were revitalized once they went up against the good teams has been answered. They aren't. They're better than they were, but they still aren't good enough. Chicago will almost certainly be missing three of its important perimeter players, but they'll still likely find a way to get it done against the Knicks.