Welcome to the NBA on NBC....pardon me, make that MSG. The Knicks are coming off their most impressive win so far this season as they beat the Heat by 20 points for a second time, this time without MVPMelo.
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Last edited by KingStarbury3; Dec 08, 2012 at 17:52.
Tonight at the world's least famous arena the United Center in Chicago, the 14-4 New York Knicks look to continue their early season dominance against the 10-8 Chicago Bulls.
The Knicks and Bulls renew a rivalry that runs deep throughout the franchises dating back to the Eastern Conference tug of war of the 80's/90's.
Expect this to be a tough, physical, aggressive game of basketball. The Knicks will need to match the intensity of the Bulls defense, no mean feat coming into their third road game in the midst of a five-in-seven nights stretch.
The Knicks come into tonight red hot after their blazing defeat of the Miami Heat in South Beach. Raymond Felton stepped up in the wake of Carmelo Anthony's lacerated finger and contributed enormously in the win. Averaging 22 points and 7 assists over the last three games, the Knicks will be looking to Felton again tonight with Melo a game time decision.
The Bulls are not without injuries of their own, Rose is still sidelined from the torn ACL he suffered in the playoffs and Rip Hamilton will also be sitting due to a torn Plantar Fascia.
However the Knicks can't afford to sleep on this team. The Bulls are an extremely well coached defensive team, the likes of which New York have not had to face in this young season.
Ignoring the fact the Knicks recent record in United Center is diabolical (3-18), the Bulls are the kind of team that can expose the weaknesses of the Knicks.
Joakim Noah comes into tonight scorching, after putting up career highs in points (30) and rebounds (23) including 10 offensive boards. One of the early criticisms of this Knicks team is their weakness on the glass and this is undoubtedly where Chicago will look to capitalize, putting up second chance points and denying them from the Knicks.
Noah, Boozer, Gibson and Deng are all great rebounders and Tyson Chandler, who is averaging 14.5 rebounds over the last four games, will be tested.
With Melo possibly out the Knicks will need to see contributions from the fiery JR Swish. After a mediocre game Wednesday, Smith nailed the stepback fallaway jumper at the buzzer to lift the Knicks to a hard fought win over the resurgent Bobcats.
However it would seem even Woodson couldn't chain Smith's party-animal nature as the Knicks plane arrived in South Beach following his game winner. He appeared unfocused in Thursdays game against Miami, going 2 for 10 from the field in that game.
Keys to the Game
The Knicks face a different animal tonight. Defensively they will need to switch from guarding the transition to keeping Chicago's half-court offense in check. Chicago are not a high scoring team and the Knicks will have to keep it that way.
Offensively the Knicks must continue to move the ball with reckless abandon. Any hint of stagnation or ISO in the Knicks offense will be pounced upon by the lock down defense of the Bulls. In the absence of Anthony, one of the Knicks offensive weapons in Felton, JR Smith or Novak will need to step up.