[Thanks to ojousama for today's game preview -yfbb]
Like I said in my last preview, it sure is a good time to be a Bulls fan. Sure, my...optimistic outlook turned out to be a little premature, but (aside from the ugly game against the Nets, fuck KG, etc.) the Bulls have continued their trend of high-defense, high-intensity play we know and love. Noah just dropped his triple-double of the season on the Wolves on Wednesday, (in between Wolves victories over the Spurs AND Rockets. This league tho.) Taj is finally back on the bus after a nasty bout of stomach business in the month of March, and our two point guard lineup is starting to make our offense look like less of a joke with some consistent late-game scoring. Sure, that game against the Pistons could have started prettier, but D.J. hit the good stuff for 24 points and 6 assists, and the whole team really pitched in to give that game a hell of an ending. The real kicker though? Whoopsie. The third seed is ours and we're in a good position to hold on to it. But the Knicks just took the time to unseat one third seed, so who's to say they won't look to prolong that streak?
But seriously, to be a Knicks fan this season is to despair. After a surging 2012-2013, in which they went 54-28, clinched the Atlantic Division title, and made a good run in the playoffs, to have such a disastrous season was unthinkable. Multiple causes have been bandied around for such a drop in productivity, including bad on-the-court chemistry starting early in the year, defense like a dang sandcastle, bad coaching AND a bad front office. Melo has been doing his best to keep the fans happy, but in such dismal times to hope is too despair, and unfortunately, after the Hawks unexpectedly handled the Heat at home, the Knicks' playoff aspirations have been finally put to bed. And honestly? I think it's a real shame.
While my allegiance remains ever-wedded to the Chicago Bulls, I love the 2013-2014 New York Knicks deeply and dearly. The New York Knicks are horrible, yes, but this year they provided constant entertainment in a conference hampered by mediocrity. Their antics on the court and off played like basketball vaudeville, and we received stirring comic performances from the entire ensemble. (links throughout) Memorable moments include J.R. Smith's serial shoe-untyings and incessant ball-hucking, the high-flying AIR BARG, and noted cop-killer Raymond Felton. Even Melo, supposed team leader and usually the only guy really giving an effort out there (although good hustle Amar'e), has gotten in on the fun in his roguishly own charming manner. Good on the Hawks for overcoming the odds and clinching that spot, but it breaks my heart that this lovable band of goons won't be in the playoffs to give us all some probably-bad-but-definitely-memorable playoff performances.
The Bulls should take this match without much issue, due to the Knicks' lax defense and the fact that they were just knocked out of playoff contention should mean our offense will be able to create consistent shots. However, with an offense as wildly erratic as our own, there's always a possibility that we'll be buried under a hail of shots, and Stoudamire's recent resurgence should give the Bulls big men something to think about defensively. Maybe this match will turn out to be one worth watching, but seeing as I'd like us to lockup that 3 seed (and avoid Brooklyn in the first round), I'd just as well have the game be a blowout. Farewell, Knicks. It was wonderful watching you work. Or more frequently, not work.
Let's go Bulls! I'll give IFC Yipes the last word. (NSFW!)