The Chicago Bulls can’t possibly lose on Jo Noah night, right?
While Bulls fans have been drowning in their tears of nostalgia the last couple of days, it’s important to remember there is also a game being played at the United Center this evening.
The Bulls perfect, NBA-leading 4-0 record faces its toughest test yet assuming you think the New York Knicks are actually good and that 3-1 record to start the season isn’t a fluke. The NBA scheduling people think it’s a big deal and actually put the game on NBA TV for a national audience to enjoy.
Because Bulls fans live in 2010, the most exciting part of playing the Knicks is getting to see Coach Tom Thibodeau, Derrick Rose, and Taj Gibson in action tonight.
I saw one Knicks game so far this season, and Rose seems to have settled into more of a distributor role as he has aged. Understandably, he doesn’t look quite as explosive as his pre-injury self, and seems to be settling for midrange and 3-point looks more these days. With that being said, he’s still an effective NBA point guard.
The Knicks though are of course anchored by a younger group of really good players. Julius Randle made his first All-Star team last season and has followed up that designation by averaging 25.5 points per game early this season. Highly touted RJ Barrett can get hot in a flash, as can veteran Evan Fournier who went off late in a thrilling overtime win against the Boston Celtics last week. In that same game, young big man Obi Toppin looked good as well and their other big man Mitchell Robinson is a beast defensively and on the glass.
It’s kind of random that Kemba Walker is now on the Knicks as well. Of course, he isn’t playing at the level that he used to play at. However, he’s still explosive and it’s interesting that he shares a backcourt with Derrick Rose. If this was 2012, the Knicks would have something cooking.
Like I previously said, this is probably the Bulls toughest game yet. They are going to have to play a much more complete game tonight than they did against the Toronto Raptors when late-game turnovers allowed the Raptors to claw back into a game the Bulls should have won by double-digits. Alex Caruso was brutal late in that game, but given all the winning plays he’s made throughout his career that’s probably more a blip on the radar than a trend we should be worried about moving forward.
Zach LaVine is questionable after he aggravated a sprained left thumb (non shooting hand) against the Raptors. In previous years, if LaVine was out or not at 100 percent you’d probably instantly count the Bulls out of the game. This year though it’s a different story with the rebuilt roster.
For the Knicks, backup center Nerlens Noel hasn’t played yet all season and is also questionable for tonight.
Game Time: 7:00 p.m., NBA TV, NBA Sports Chicago