New York Knicks Status Check:
Home Record: 23-17
Last 10 Games: 7-3
Streak: Won 7
Last game: Won 110-109 over Indiana
PPG: 106.8 (2nd)
Opponents PPG: 105.7 (27th)
Offensive Rating: 111.1 (6th)
Defensive Rating: 110.0 (22nd)
Pace: 95.6 (3rd)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .514 (8th)
Turnover Percentage: .126 (6th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .718 (26th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .244 (24th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .247 (4th)
Opp. eFG%: .510 (22nd)
Opp. TO%: .140 (9th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .241 (24th)
Leading scorer: Carmelo Anthony (26.5)
Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.
New York Injury Report:
Andy Rautins: knee surgery (will miss remainder of the season)
Amare Stoudemire: sprained left ankle (questionable for tonight’s game)
In tonight’s game the Bulls face their kryptonite. Chicago has beaten every team in the NBA except the New York Knicks.
It won’t be easy. The Knicks have been streaking lately. They have won seven straight games, possibly finally meshing after their mid-season trade. The Bulls have won seven straight as well, while locking up the East.
Before this win streak, though the Knicks had lost six straight and nine of ten, so you never know which Knicks team will show. But their winning streak is quite the opposite of what their opponent in the playoffs, the Boston Celtics, has been doing lately.
And the two teams will be seeing different faces when they line up for tipoff. Chicago hasn’t faced New York at full strength yet, with Carlos Boozer missing one game and Joakim Noah missing the other. The Knicks haven’t faced the Bulls since the Melo trade. And Amare Stoudemire might not be able to go for the third straight game with a sprained ankle.
Neither team really has much to play for. Both are locked into their first round match-ups. The Bulls can still claim the best record in the league if they keep winning, but it may not be worth it.
Derrick Rose went down numerous times in the Orlando game with grimaces on his face. Every time he gets fouled hard or hits the ground the wrong way, Bulls fans hold their breath. If Rose gets hurt, even if it just makes him a little less effective, Chicago’s title hopes go way down.
So are one or two wins worth the possibility of an injury to an important player? Should Scalabrine play 48 minutes? I don’t know the answers to these questions and that’s why I’m glad I’m not a coach (but if I was I would definitely run the “seven seconds or less” offense and I would find a seven-foot point guard to run it).
But Thibodeau wants the starters to play. And that’s fine; he has coached well all season, and knows what he can get out of his players. So why start questioning him now. It’s not Vinny del Negro still sitting on the bench.
The perfect scenario would be for the starters to get some minutes early, get a lead and then get out of the game and turn into five Brian Scalabrines.
Tweet from K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
“DRose has bad head cold. He’s playing. Thibs reaction: ‘Oh, he’s got the sniffles? If he’s practicing, he’s playing.’”
Well, I’m glad we cleared that up.
About the Author:
Braedan Ritter was born and raised in Pennsylvania but was swayed by gifts from his aunt to follow the Chicago sports teams. It didn’t hurt that the Bulls had a guy named Michael Jordan playing for them, and the Sixers had…Derrick Coleman. Braedan has stuck with Chicago through thick and thin, and really thin (see: Chicago Cubs). And speaking of Coleman, Braedan is currently a student at Syracuse University.