The Bulls had their hearts broken in Derrick's return from injury, at least as much as any team with the best record in the NBA can have their heart broken in a regular season game, with a one point overtime loss.
Carmelo Anthony hit a couple of fairly ridiculous threes, which aren't his thing anyway, in order to drag the Knicks over the finish line. Meanwhile, Tyson Chandler was an absolute beast inside, tipping about 50 balls out to the Knicks for offensive rebounds. The Bulls will need to do a better job controlling those two to win the game.
Play a complete game
In the end, the Bulls choked away the game against the Knicks. They had two very good free throw shooters both go 0-2 in the clutch in regulation when a single extra free throw would have earned them the victory. That said, before choking the game away at the end, they failed to show up at the start.
The Bulls had to fight back from a 21 point deficit in order to get back into the game after allowing the Knicks offense to run a layup line for the first quarter. They turned the ball over left and right, didn't box out on the glass, and were really fortunate that the Knicks generally shot the ball like crap from the perimeter.
On top of the offensive rebounds allowed, the Bulls also turned the ball over a ridiculous 19 times while only forcing nine turnovers on the other end. The turnovers are what led to all the easy baskets that allowed the Knicks to compete despite not finding much offense in the half court.
The Bulls may have choked away the game in the end, but they had plenty of flaws all game long that need correcting.
Bulls looked out of sorts trying to defend the smaller Knicks
Chicago never really figured out a good scheme to matchup against the Knicks with Anthony at PF. Anthony simply went off on whomever guarded him, and Tyson Chandler provided enough ammo at center to allow them to compete on the glass.
I'd like to see the Bulls go with a Noah/Taj front-line for awhile to punish the Knicks on the offensive glass for going small. Noah and Taj are also both tremendous perimeter defenders for big men and could manage the role of playing big while giving the team the speed to defend a small lineup.
Will Derrick play? How will he respond?
Rose was in a walking boot on Monday due to an ankle sprain which he played through in Sunday's game. Will Derrick suit up and play? A walking boot doesn't seem like something you shake off in a day, but it could mostly be preventative.
Either way, Rose looked far less explosive than usual on Sunday, and if he's dealing with an ankle, it's unlikely he looks more explosive tonight. Rose, if he plays, will be looking for some serious redemption after accepting the blame for the loss on Sunday afternoon. He missed a couple of clutch free throws and struggled mightily down the clutch.
I'm not worried about Rose shooting free throws or scoring in the clutch overall, but I am concerned about how quickly he can gain back the athleticism which makes him an elite player. Be it mental or physical, we can do naught but hope he's back to his normal self come playoff time.
Go get this one
The Knicks look likely to finish 7th or 8th in the East and since Chicago will finish one or two, there's likely a 50/50 chance that this will represent a first round matchup in the playoffs. Chicago needs to put their stamp on the matchup and show the Knicks which team is the hammer and which team is the nail.