Knicks-Bulls: What to Watch For

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The Knicks were 2-1 versus the Bulls last season. This season was supposed to be one of those years where this great rivalry would be re-kindled. The Bulls, 18-6, have been very good but obviously the 8-13 Knicks have been very bad. The Knicks do usually step their game up and compete against good teams so I think tonights game will be competitive. The Knicks match up pretty decently with the Bulls.

Here are some things to watch for:

  • With no Luol Deng, it will be interesting to see what Melo can do against Ronnie Brewer. Brewer is a strong, athletic defender but he is not the player that Luol Deng is. The Knicks did a really nice job of getting Melo the ball in post up situations where he is a dominant player. For more on Melo’s dominant post play, check out Jared Dubin’s Hardwood Paroxysm article from last month. I think tonight, Melo either will be horrible and stop the ball all game or he’s gonna have one of those vintage Melo nights. Lets be frank, in order to win tonight the Knicks will have to get Melo dominating. I think tonight he can do that against Brewer and I think the Knicks will compete hard tonight.
  • Iman Shumpert Vs Derrick Rose. Obviously Bibby and Douglas won’t be able to stay in front of Rose but I think Shumpert can. His legs have seem to have left him but the Knicks have had a good amount of days off lately and Shump could rise to the challenge versus the reigning MVP. The Knicks have no chance if they let the Bulls one man fast break do his best Rajon Rondo impersonation. If you forgot what that looks like, I’ll remind you:
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and if you have a couple minutes

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  • The Knicks have to keep Carlos Boozer off the boards tonight. The Duke product (how the hell did he get into Duke?) averaged 20 ppg and 20.5 rpg in 2 games versus the Knicks last season. If Boozer has 20 points 20 boards tonight, 2 things will happen. 1. I will shoot myself in the head and 2. the Knicks will lose.
  • Toney Douglas had 30 points in the Knicks first matchup against the Bulls last season. I will bet anyone a large sum of money that he doesn’t get 30 tonight.
  • Boozer is a horrid defender. Lets see if Amar’e can take advantage. Per Hollinger’s insider report on Boozer, the Bulls give up 6.36 more points per 100 possessions last season when Boozer was on the floor. He was ranked 64th out of 70 eligible power forwards in blocks per minute. Boozer has short arms and is only 6’9. The long, athletic Stoudemire should be able to take advantage but given his struggles this season, I would not expect him to dominate.
  • The Bulls bench cannot score. Chicago’s bench has not scored a lot of points this year, 25th in the league in bench scoring, and the Knick defense must keep it that way. Rose and Boozer will be a load offensively for the Knicks to deal with, they don’t need Ashton Kutcher shooting the lights out tonight or Taj Gibson scoring 15 points. Unfortunately, the Knicks bench probably will score 3 points tonight and if the Chicago bench can get going the Knicks will likely have no counter.
  • Will the real STAT please stand up?
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