Knicks-Bulls Preview

New York Knicks Status Check:
Record: 8-13
Division: 2-1
Conference: 7-6
Home Record: 4-6
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Streak: Won 1
Last game: 113-86 win over Detroit
PPG: 94.6 (15th)
Opponents PPG: 95.1 (16th)
Offensive Rating: 99.6 (24th)
Defensive Rating: 100.1 (9th)
Pace: 94.1 (2nd)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .467 (22nd)
Turnover Percentage: .157 (27th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .760 (4th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .246 (21st)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .246 (7th)
Opp. eFG%: .489 (20th)
Opp. TO%:  .163 (3rd)
Opp. FT/FGA: .228 (21st)
Leading scorer: Carmelo Anthony (23.7)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Knicks Injury Report:
Baron Davis: out (back)
Josh Harrellson: out (right wrist surgery)

Overview:
Chicago looks to rebound from a very underwhelming performance in Philadelphia, by going up the road just a couple hours north to New York City. The Sixers seemed to have everything working and everyone on the same page. It appears to be the opposite in New York.

The Knicks, who were thought to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference are 8-13 and currently in tenth place in the East. There is a lot of basketball left to play, but the Knicks have some serious flaws.

They are coming off a win in their last game, in which Carmelo Anthony returned from injury. Melo missed two games with various injuries, but came back strong against Detroit, scoring 25 points and more importantly helping the Knicks find their offensive mojo. As a team New York shot 60 percent from the field, 50 percent from three and 80 percent from the line. Their offense was working so well, that Melo even had six assists, tied for his second highest total this season.

Going into the Detroit game, the Knicks scored fewer than 100 points in eleven out of their last 12 games. This is not good for a team that can’t stop a nose bleed (Actually, the Knicks defense hasn’t been horrible this season. They are ninth in defensive rating thanks in big part to being third in opponent turnover percentage. Also, Tyson Chandler helps.).

Before this win over the Pistons, the Knicks had lost three in a row and nine of ten. It might have been good to get that win out of the way, as New York enters their back-to-back-to-back tonight against Chicago. They take on Boston and New Jersey during the rest of their stretch.

New York is coming in hot, while the Bulls are coming in at a chilly temperature. The Bulls lost an ugly game last night, and for the first time in a long time, coach Thibodeau waved the white flag. Rose, Noah and Boozer sat the entire fourth quarter. Korver was pulled with four minutes left.

And it should pay off tonight. Going into a back-to-back, Rose played 31 minutes, Noah played 27 and Boozer played 27. Those numbers are a lot smaller than usual for the Bulls going into the second night, especially for Derrick.

But the reason the Bulls sat their starters was because the game was out of reach—not the best feeling. Rose (8-17 for 18 points) and Gibson (4-6 for nine points, five rebounds and three assists) were the most efficient players for Chicago. But everyone else was off. Carlos Boozer (4-11), Ronnie Brewer (3-8) and Joakim Noah (0-3) all have a lot of room for improvement.

Chicago lost two of three to the Knicks last season. Early in the year, Rose scored 24 and added 14 assists, but Toney Douglas scored 30 off the bench to lead New York to a high scoring win.

The Bulls also lost to the Knicks on Christmas day. Derrick Rose has a ho-hum 25 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. But every starter for the Knicks scored at least 14 points.

In two games against New York last season, Boozer went for 26 points and 19 rebounds on Christmas day, and 14 points and 22 rebounds on April 12 (he went just 5-19 from the field in the second game).

With Chicago coming off an ugly loss, they should come out hungry. And they might get a boost by having Luol Deng return from injury.

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