With Jimmy Butler, Denzel Valentine and Nikola Mirotic suffering from influenza, the Bulls had little rhythm in New York, as they faced off against old friends Rose and Noah.
In a game that started with back-to-back buckets from former Bulls Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, the shorthanded Bulls simply couldn't keep up with the struggling New York Knicks. Since Derrick Rose went AWOL on Monday night, he has shot 18-for-31, including 17 points on Thursday night in 34 minutes. The former MVP showed many flashes of his old self--driving past Rondo and Jerian Grant with ease. While both Rose and Noah may both say that this is just another game, playing against the team that drafted them definitely has more meaning. Noah, who has continued to struggle this season, was huge for the Knicks with 12 points, while dominating the Bulls on the glass with 15 rebounds--nine of them offensive. Former Bull Justin Holiday also participated off the bench with 2 three-pointers. Holiday is putting up nearly 7 points a game off the bench for New York, and looks like a player that the Bulls could desperately use for some shooting in their 2nd unit.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 23, including 2 three-pointers and 9 rebounds in 34 minutes. Mindaugas Kuzminskas had a career night off of the bench with 19 points. The 27 year old from Lithuania shot 8-of-15, knocking down half of his three-point attempts. Kyle O'Quinn pitched in a Double-Double off of the bench in just 17 minutes, with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
This game was clear evidence that Jimmy Butler deserves the starting nod in the 2017 NBA All-Star game. The Bulls simply have no identity, or no one to turn to when Butler isn't on the floor. Paul Zipser, not Doug McDermott, got his first NBA start in place of Butler scoring 7 points in 34 minutes. The 6'8 German showed some promise in his 1st real opportunity, but he clearly has a long way to go before Fred gives his meaningful minutes with a healthy roster.
Michael Carter-Williams and Rajon Rondo collectively shot 3-for-17 for 7 points while Jerian Grant had another solid game off of the bench with 14 points. The former Knick has shown that he belongs in this league, and perhaps even deserves the starting job over the 2 "non-scoring" Point Guards ahead of him.
Dwyane Wade lead the Bulls with 22 points, going 9-of-20 from the floor. Wade showed flashes of his Miami days, including a monstrous 1 handed jam in the lane, but couldn't find help where it was needed from his teammates. Doug McDermott struggled once again, scoring 2 points in just 17 minutes. The 25 year old from Creighton has shown flashes in the NBA, but is struggling to show consistency for the Bulls second unit. Cristiano Felicio was once again one of the bright spots off of the bench, scoring 13 points, connecting on 6 of his 9 attempts. The Brazilian big man is making a case for the front office to move one of their front court players, paving the way for Felicio to start.
With last nights loss, the Bulls fall to 19-21 on the season. Fred Hoiberg is running out of options with this crew, whether it be via trade or free agency, this squad needs help, and they'd better get it fast before they find themselves too deep in the Eastern Conference standings.