Derrick Rose is likely out for tonight’s game. The Knicks have a golden opportunity to steal the second game of a home and home against the Bulls. Coming off Carmelo Anthony’s virtuoso performance, the Knicks have some momentum heading into the final 10 games of the regular season. I think the Knicks should win this game tonight. Sure, the Bulls are still a great team without Rose, but I think the Knicks should have the upper hand tonight. The Knicks 4th ranked defense should hold Chicago’s offense in check. The question mark will be the Knicks offense. I don’t expect Anthony to score 43 tonight, but he should have another good game. I think the Knicks win tonights game.
Here’s what to watch for:
- The Knicks have to box out better. While New York did play well defensively, they still struggled to contain the Bulls on the glass. Chicago is going to get some offensive rebounds, but the Knicks gave up 18 of them in Sunday’s victory. I do believe the Knicks can improve on their defensive rebounding. If you go back and look at the Knicks victory over the Bulls, many of Chicago’s offensive rebounds came when Rose broke down the Knicks defense by penetrating. Without Rose, I don’t believe Chicago has the same ability to break down the defense. John Lucas III (JLIII) and CJ Watson are capable backup point guards, but they aren’t the dynamic athletes that Derrick Rose is. I think if the Knicks work hard on the defensive glass tonight, they’ll do a good job keeping Chicago off the glass.
- Will Tyson Chandler dominate Joakim Noah again? In Sunday’s victory, Joakim Noah was non-existent while Tyson Chandler was dominant. Chandler’s dominance was just as big a part of the victory as Carmelo Anthony’s heroics. Chandler was +15 on the day while Noah was a -14. Chandler also grabbed 10, or tipped 10, key offensive rebounds that were paramount to the Knicks winning that game. He truly was magnificent and made Noah look like a really ugly D-leaguer. If Chandler can do that tonight, the Knicks will win. I don’t expect Noah to play as poorly as he did, but I do think Chandler will play well tonight.
- The Knicks cannot let Boozer beat them. Yes, I actually said that. I know he’s always pretty mediocre against the Knicks, but he has rebounded in double digits his past 5 games. If Boozer gets in a shooting rhythm, he is pretty capable of having a big game. With the Knicks playing small ball featuring Anthony at the 4, Boozer does have a chance to play well on offense. I don’t believe that he will, but the Knicks will be in trouble if he does.
- Can you hit a f$%^&*@ shot JR? 6/22? Really man? I like JR, but he has got to stop having these horrid shooting games. He has a good game every once in a while, but that isn’t good enough. Points are always at a premium against Chicago’s vaunted defense and JR left a lot of them out on the floor on Sunday. If JR can hit shots, that will help free up Anthony from double teams. I think Chicago will game plan to make Knicks not named Anthony beat them. JR needs to get hot tonight.
- Speaking of Melo… I think Carmelo Anthony has good shot of having another dominant game. He won’t score 43, but he has a chance to dominate in other ways. I think Chicago will send double and triple teams his way tonight. I think they’ll force him to find open teammates. However, Anthony is more than capable to delivering crisp passes under duress. Anthony should dominate tonight, but he’ll dominate in another way. He’ll get 6-7 assists go to along with about 25 points. He’ll dominate in the sense that he’ll defend and rebound and get his teammates involved. I think Melo is in a good rhythm and I think he’ll keep that going tonight.
- Will Woodson remember that Landry Fields is on the team? Two games in a row now, Landry Fields has sat down the stretch in the 4th quarter. Fields has had two of his better games while JR Smith has had two of his worst. It will be interesting to see if Mike Woodson decides to stick with Smith if he sucks again. I think Fields has earned the right to some more playing time, but I don’t make the decisions.