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Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks: Game preview, injury report, and open thread

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BP revenge game and excited to see Taj

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NBA: New York Knicks-Media Day Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls (1-2) at New York Knicks (0-3)

NBC Sports Chicago, 6:00 p.m.

Injury Report:

Chandler Hutchison is still out, but he’s heading to the Windy City Bulls for some practice reps. Otto Porter Jr. is good to go after getting six stitches due to a blow to the mouth during the Raptors game.

Dennis Smith Jr. is away from the Knicks due to a death of a close family member. Reggie Bullock and Kadeem Allen remain out. Mitchell Robinson is probable with an ankle injury.

Preview:

Out of respect to Taj Gibson, Iet’s take it easy on the New York Knicks in this preview.

On those beloved early 2010s Chicago Bulls teams, the guy who was universally loved was Taj Gibson. Well, Luol Deng too, but we already gave him some love on here when he retired, so it’s Taj’s turn. We love you, Taj Gibson. Hard hat, lunch pail forever.

At this stage in his career, Gibson is an 11-minute-per-game player for a New York Knicks squad that has started the season 0-3.

With the Knicks, it’s all about the youth movement.

Last season, they had the worst record in the league. Because ping-pong balls hate the franchise and bad luck is becoming synonymous with ‘New York Knicks,’ they fell to third in the draft order and missed on their chance to draft Zion Williamson.

Instead, they got Duke guard RJ Barrett. Knocked for his inefficient shooting and tunnel vision in college, he garnered a reputation as a consolation prize for teams unable to get Williamson. Barrett has silenced some of the critics (small sample size alert), averaging 21.0 points per game on 51 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from 3-point land (he was a 30.8 percent shooter from deep in college).

Right now, Barrett is headlining an intriguing group of young Knicks players. Julius Randle was their main consolation prize after whiffing on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Kevin Knox is off to a good start this year as well after a tough rookie season. Athletic 7-footer Mitchell Robinson is one of the best rim protectors in the NBA when he’s not fouling. Dennis Smith Jr. is struggling and won’t play on Monday (Frank Ntilikina will get his minutes), but he has all the talent in the world. You can’t teach that athleticism, and sometimes guys like that figure it out. Allonzo Trier went from undrafted player in 2018 to a guy who looks like an NBA rotational player.

The Knicks are tied for the fourth-youngest roster in the NBA. Gibson is the old man on the team at age 34, and there are only three dudes over the age of 25. So, even though everyone loves a good Knicks joke, they may not be quite as miserably positioned as some people perceive.

Oh, yeah, Bobby Portis is on this team. Look for him to erupt for 30 in his revenge game.

Meanwhile, the Bulls are trying to pump some optimism back into the fan base after a rocky start to the season. The loss against the Toronto Raptors was miserable a few nights ago. The effort and execution was a mix tape on how not to do things.

If the Bulls were playing as well as we thought they would at the start of the season, you would look at this game tonight against the New York Knicks as one they should definitely win. I’m not so sure we can do that anymore, but the Bulls need to find a way to win this one.

Random Stat:

Bobby Portis has averaged 15 points per game against the Bulls since the team traded him. That’s his second-highest scoring average against any team (has averaged over 17 against the Minnesota Timberwolves).

Quote:

Per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic from Jim Boylen after the Raptors game. If only it was that simple:

“This was a game of a team that’s never been to the playoffs and a team that won it,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. “That’s the difference.”

Must-see tweet:

This isn’t Bulls-related but still great #content: