[Thanks to Cosmis for today's game preview. Noah is likely out. -ed.]
The Bulls will attempt to get the "second half" of the season off on a winning note tonight at the UC against the lowly Knicks, losers of 8 of their last 10 (the two wins were over Minnesota and Washington, so they shouldn't really even count). While the Knickerbockers' season has very quickly taken a turn for the worse, they remain a potentially dangerous team (especially from range), with several players capable of huge nights (Nate Robinson, Al Harrington, Wilson Chandler, David Lee, possibly Danilo Gallinari). These two games (on at the UC, one in MSG)
might, could, hopefully will be the last time we see this Bulls' roster together, so we might as well come out above .500
Most Important Bulls in the World:
With no offense intended to the Knicks and their fans, tonight's focus will be on Joakim Noah's foot and Derrick Rose's...umm...hip. If Rose and Noah can play, they should beat this team. If Rose and Noah are healthy, they will beat this team, especially at home. Rose looked hobbled in the All-Star Game, but the fact that he scored 8 points in 15 minutes is nice, since even the All-Star teams probably play better defense than the Knicks do.
Key to the Game:
I suppose a repeat of the Knicks' first visit to Chicago this season would be an ideal situation, but you can't expect an NBA team to shoot that poorly from deep on a consistent basis (well, an NBA team not named the Bulls). Either way, defensive rotation and denying the open three are probably the best ways to ensure a victory in this contest. David Lee is an All-Star (and a deserving one), but Noah, if healthy, should cancel him out pretty well. As always, a scoring punch off of the bench will help (here's to you John Salmons/Devin Brown). I know this isn't the most complex game plan in the world, but the Bulls are a much better team than New York. There shouldn't be a need to out-think or out-coach them (which is good because that is not happening).