Bulls vs. Knicks game preview: Who's old, Who's injured, and where did those 3's go?

Bruce Bennett

[Thanks to Jockstrap Noah for today's game preview. There are still some openings left this month if you're interested. And if you're interested in going to the actual games, use our partners if you want Chicago Bulls Tickets. -yfbb]

For a couple months I've been working on a basketball statistics site, www.bballnumbers.com. I hope you'll humor me by clicking through the links in this preview and checking it out.

The Knicks are old. The Knicks are injured. And that ball moving string strumming net humming magic is gone. One after the other injury or ineffectiveness have shifted the burden to the erstwhile Nuggets partners Anthony and J.R. Smith. The Bulls have their own injury issues and excepting a New Year's awakening from newly committed Carlos Boozer they are stuck in the mid-season doldrums with only lighthouse Rose as the beacon directing their rotation addled minds.

Who's Old Who's Injured

Kurt Thomas is 40 years old. He is one of three remaining bigs in the New York rotation after Marcus Camby's (38) foot injury in last night's Pacers game and Rasheed Wallace's (38) left-foot stress reaction. Amar'e Stoudemire (30) is no spring chicken himself 10 years after winning the rookie of the year award and working through knee injuries only to play with a minutes limit:

The Knicks forward played a season-high 27 minutes against the Celtics Monday, but Woodson said that was too much. ‘I just got word that I needed to back off because I shouldn’t have done that,’ Woodson said. ‘So his minutes will still be on restriction. Probably around (20 minutes) … somewhere in that area there. No more than 22 or 23 minutes.’

Minutes limits are not applied to Tyson Chandler (30) who has seen a steady increase in playing time to 36 minutes per game after starting the year at a more manageable 30 minutes per game.

Jason Kidd (38) has been moved to starting point guard after Raymond Felton's (28) Christmas Day pinkie fracture has sidelined him until late January. This shift has produced playing time for the two oldest rookies of all-time, rookies via Europe Chris Copeland (28) and Pablo Prigioni (35). Copeland has been a starter since Ronnie Brewer (27) shifted to shooting guard and the NBA's only ever Pablo has assumed the backup point guard role.

Where did those 3's go?

Basketball Reference provides us with a list of the all-time jackingest teams

Threes attempted per game
1 2012-13 NYK 29.0
2 2008-09 NYK 27.9
3 2012-13 HOU 27.5
4 2009-10 ORL* 27.3
5 2011-12 ORL* 27.0
6 2007-08 GSW 26.6
7 2002-03 BOS* 26.3
8 2008-09 ORL* 26.2
9 2009-10 NYK 26.2
10 2005-06 PHO* 25.6
11 2010-11 ORL* 25.6
12 2010-11 NYK* 25.4
13 2007-08 ORL* 25.3
14 2012-13 LAL 25.1

A small nauseating list of mavericks have finger prints on all these jacking teams. D'Antoni, Stan Van Gundy & Dwight Howard, Don Nelson and Boston's Antoine Walker but nobody tops this year's Knicks; however what started as the most ball swingingest team in the league has degenerated into a two-man three-point competition.

(Here's where I start throwing stat links at you)

The team in general has gone from a 40% 3pt shooting team to a 34% team (link). Novak, although keeping his percentage high has seen his attempts significantly reduced (link). Ronnie Brewer started super hot from three, but after a 1- 19 stretch from 3 pt land has seen his minutes and attempts reduced big time (link). Rasheed (3.4) took his attempts to the training room and Felton (4.2) did like wise. The oldest rookies ever have been picking up a bit of slack, Pablo peaking at 2.3 attempts per game (link) and Copeland getting up to 3.2 (link) but nobody has been tossing them up like the erstwhile Nuggets duo of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. Carmelo has gotten up to 8 attempts per game (link) and J.R. is up to 6.2 (link).

Will the Bulls Win Of Course

Of course the Bulls will win. That Knick team that swung the ball and drained threes was fearsome but flawed and unlike the Milwaukee Bucks were a really really good matchup for the Bulls. This team of worn-out rebounders and my-turn takers is a good match-up but no match for even a team wading through the doldrums like the Bulls. The only caveat is that Game-Time Kirk might not play (he's a game-time decision) and that means that Madison Garden Legend Nate Robinson once again has his eyes widened by an open hoop and screaming fans and his name in lights with plenty of influenza like hero-ball in the building to turn a 5 man game into a narrowly focused 3 point contest. Whatever, that'd be entertaining too!

Check out posting and toasting, they've contracted Kenyon Martin fever! And I'm jealous that their organization would even allow the fans to hope to sign an aging big-man backup.

If you clicked through to bballnumbers, thank you! I hope you figured out that clicking on the grid changes the graph. That may or may not be intuitive. Go Bulls!

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