[Thanks to paddyfairview for today's game preview. Late start today, 8:30 Central. -yfbb]
I'm uniquely qualified to do this game preview on account of I didn't see a single second of Sunday's game, and therefore still have a laptop that isn't sticking through my TV screen. From what I gather, Derrick's achillies heel flared up (that joke was funnier before it was announced that he's likely out tonight with an ankle injury) and Melo capped a good game with some hero ball. As for Melo, BFD, that's what he's supposed to do. But as for Derrick, I'll say this: let's not forget that he likely strained that heel compensating for his groin injury, sustained while
carrying the media on his jock compensating for a back injury, sustained while carrying his offensively-Bogansian teammates compensating for a toe injury, sustained while tripping over Thibs' handling of minutes...oh, who remembers. (add in an ankle injury joke as well, I guess). It's been that kind of season. We now return to your regularly-scheduled brick shitting.
Given the injuries to DRose, I had half a mind to upgrade the DEFCON level for this game from "Fuck Those Guys" to "Blood Fued", but as usual LeBron ruins everything: not even multiple injuries and an excruciating loss can stop this from being basically a tune-up game for the Heat on Thursday (which makes it all the more unfortunate if Derrick doesnt play). Eastern Conference seeding aside it would be really, really nice to notch a home win and stick it to NY with or without Rose. Assuming he's out, and knowing that Amare is, the matchup game gets a bit more interesting, so let's play:
POINT GUARD: CJ Watson vs. Baron Davis
Davis has started seven games now, and is still shooting a shade under 33% from the field. CJ's struggles are well documented, but it's hard to do worse than that. Baron's quite a mystery - he's capable of so much more, but you never really know when you're going to get it. CJ's defense is probably his best asset (especially when he's not hitting), but Steve Nash once called Baron the toughest defensive assignment in the NBA. Granted, it's Nash, and he was talking about a different era, but I can't faithfully give the edge to the Bulls while Good Baron is still lurking out there.
SHOOTING GUARD: Rip Hamilton vs. Iman Shumpert
...as for the Rip cynics, I think you're all idiots. Sure, it's touch-and-go while he's out there, but his shot creation is just what the doctor ordered. He's averaging 4.3 assists per 36 at the moment, almost a full assist higher than his career average [actually I double-checked this and he's only half an assist up, but still], and it's clear to anyone with eyes that he makes the offense a lot less....fugly. This season has done unspeakable things to man-parts on the injury front, but people calling Rip a "bust" will only be vindicated if he can't play in the playoffs. When healthy he's been a pleasure to watch (post-injury shooting troubles aside) and he's exactly the type of offensive player this team needs. As for Shumpert, the best thing I can say about him is that he's made Knick fans look stupid yet again for booing his selection back in June. He isn't really a PG, but he's got a handle, and he can be pretty dangerous at the off guard spot. Rip's got length on him, so that should help. The optimist in me says Edge Bulls.
SMALL FORWARD: Lt. Deng vs. Landry Fields
Landry is a great illustration of how desperate Knicks fans are for any type of success. Everyone and Spike Lee's mother kissed his ass last season, but we haven't seen much improvement on what he brought initially. He looks like a moderately-talented, hard working bench player given the opportunity to start, kind of like Taj two years ago, on a team without particularly good guards. Lu is an All-Star, which I never get tired of pointing out. Not to hate on Landry, but it's clearly Edge Bulls when it comes to Lu vs. the out-of-position sophomore.
POWER FORWARD: Carlos Boozer vs. Should've Traded for Melo
I have enough faith in Thibs to believe that Melo won't be going off again tonight, but I can also admit that it would be foolish to give the edge to Chicago. I still wouldn't trade our fingagunz-wielding center for a ball-stopping small forward, but whatever, it's over. I can only assume two things: first, that certain parties will be (and were) absolutely insufferable in the Game Thread every time Melo puts the ball in the basket, and second, that Boozer's defensive issues (I'm really beginning to be convinced that his inability to move his feet quickly is what holds him back in several areas) will cause everyone to overlook his offensive contributions. Which, if he scores 13 points again, is fine by me. Edge Knicks.
CENTER: JoNo vs. Tyson Chandler
Chandler's one of the few guys left in the NBA that you really wouldn't mind slotting in at the 5 against Howard or Bynum come playoff time. He's a great defender, shot blocker and he sets a mean screen. He's also one of the only members of the post-Jordan Bulls to not suck complete ass after he left, which stings a little, but since he's only really come on the last two years I guess it's OK. But for all those virtues, he's missing one key element that holds him back, and forces me to give the title to Jo: EDGE FINGAGUNZ
Coach: Thibs vs. Woody
You can't force your players to make shots. Thibs has his flaws but they're pretty insignificant, unless you're chalking up the injury plague to his heavy use of starters. Woodson's forced the Knicks to play defense, and good for him. But as usual, unless it's Pops on the opposing bench I'm going EDGE BULLS.
LENS CRAFTERS OPPOSING PLAYER THAT NEIL FUNK SHITS ON ALL GAME: I'm going with Landry, and the nearly-useless Jared Jeffries as my backup. Although he might just be shameless enough to go after Melo for his ball-stoppage.
That's it, stop by Posting and Toasting and remind New Yorkers that all their teams suck and God Hates the Yankees (if only). I trust the Bulls will earn some redemption tonight, but if not, good news - we can all bitch loudly about it on the internet.