New York Knicks (12-12) at (Chicago Bulls (4-20)
7:00 p.m. CT, WGN
Saturday night the New York Knicks pay a visit to the Chicago Bulls. Kristaps Porzingis returns to the starting line up in his second game back from an ankle injury. Thank God, as New York is incredibly boring to watch without the PORZINGOD in uniform.
In fact, Chicago and New York may have succeeded in selecting the two most boring lottery picks who (caveat) might actually be good! It’s not a bad thing though! New York selected Frank "Franky Smokes" Ntilikina one pick after Lauri Markkanen and each guy basically excels in performing one skill really well. Each player affects the game in different ways, Markkaneen with his shooting and Ntilikina with his defense, but both look like they have a decent shot at becoming high level NBA talents. Ok, so maybe only deep NBA heads who are planning to watching Chicago and New York on a Saturday night are saying that. Markkanen and Ntilikina are probably more like that indie band your friend keeps insisting you listen to, "Bro, you gotta listen to that Girlpool album, though". All the while your wondering if the band Girlpool actually exists (they do)? That is how I feel about Franky Smokes! Seriously, these Ntilikina defensive deep dives make me feel better about how I spend my free time.
Anyways, Saturday night also marks the return of a couple ex-Bulls, Doug McDermott and Joakim Noah. There is a chance Noah could see a couple minutes, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up. Keep cashing them James Dolan checks, Jo. I’m happy for him. As for McDermott, all I can say is that the Cameron Payne trade is looking better and better every day! For those of you who forgot, New York received Chicago’s 2017 second round pick via OKC in the Melo trade. This hurts, by the way. Any time Knicks fans can hold any sense of civic pride over your team you know that The End Is Nigh. Ugh…
Things to watch for:
Can Chicago stay hot coming off their two game winning streak against Charlotte? I’m calling it a win streak. If Charlotte insists on insulting our collective basketball intelligence by allowing Dwight Howard to shoot the ball 23 times, then I am allowed to call it what it is, A WIN STREAK BABY. What about those ten games in between? Fake News.
*Side note: I wrote this while watching that Charlotte game last night and not to be overly optimistic, but it got me thinking about how this young Bulls squad proved talented enough to beat a Charlotte team which got a combined 38 shot attempts from Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Michael Carter-Williams. Just kidding. That in-itself was a crime against basketball.
**Side-Side note: there might not ever be two worse shooting hyphenated-Michael’s on the same team. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Chicago is 4-2-1 (11-11-2 overall) over their last seven against the spread, but 0-3-1 coming off a back-to-back. New York is 14-10-0 against the spread, but only 2-6-0 on the road. It is no surprise Chicago is the home dog taking +4.0 points. The degenerate in me says that something’s gotta give, but the rational man in me is saying (in a slightly elevated tone) to stay away. Lets go with the rational man this time.