[thanks to BoozerDPOY (HEY! GET DAT!) for today's game preview. Answered the bell last-minute -yfbb]
Oh hey! The Bulls play the Knicks today! Fresh off a less than exciting loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Bulls are looking to bounce back and get a home win before an almost assuredly brutal matchup vs the Memphis Grizzlies tomorrow.
There's really no way to sugarcoat it: the Knicks are an objectively terrible basketball team. Despite the presence of superstar, Carmelo Anthony/Melo/#FraudMelo/whatever you want to call him, they sport an atrocious 5-22 record, good for 14th in the East ahead of only the tankalicious 76ers. The Bulls absolutely throttled them on opening night, and tonight, the Knicks look to be even worse than usual, missing Amar'e Stoudemire (rest), Iman Shumpert (shoulder), JR Smith (left foot), and Andrea Bargnani (Bargs). In addition, Melo is questionable to play with a knee issue that has plagued him all season. He will likely need surgery on it after the season, and has already been urged to "shut it down" for the time being. Of course, if he were to play, it would be his first game in the United Center since spurning the Bulls in free agency 5 months ago. Needless to say, he probably wouldn't get a very warm reception from the Chicago faithful.
Luckily for the Knicks, the Bulls aren't exactly at full strength either. Derrick Rose is questionable to play with an illness that hopefully is not the mumps. Taj Gibson could also miss time with a right ankle sprain suffered against the Hawks. Of course, he also returned to finish out that game, because why not, right?! Thankfully, the Bulls look to get a boost from the return of Joakim Noah, who missed the last several games with an ankle injury of his own. Noah's return looks to help shore up the Bulls' recently shaky defense.
If Rose does not play, look for the immortal Jimmy Butler and Pau "Honda Accord" Gasol to shoulder most of the scoring burden for the Bulls. They don't look to have too much resistance, being matched up against Tim Hardaway Jr. and Samuel Dalembert, respectively. The one matchup the Knicks would have the advantage would be the ageless shooter José Calderon (42% 3PT) against the slumping Kirk Hinrich (0 points in his last 53 minutes), but given that the game will be broadcast on TNT, the potential appearance of #NationalTVKirk could level the playing field a bit. Nonetheless, this is a game that the Bulls SHOULD win handily, barring a total catastrophe and/or barrage of mid range jump shots by the Knicks' plethora of average big men. Neither of which seems like an impossibility. I hope. Go Bulls!
Tip off is at 7 PM CST/8 PM EST on TNT/ESPN Sports 1000.