This season, the Chicago Bulls just seem to top themselves each time in terms of heart-breaking losses. First it was the game-winning three by Damion Lee for Golden State, then came the huge blown lead against Oklahoma City. But Saturday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers was a new level.
The defeat now puts Chicago’s record at 7-11, tied for 10th best in the Eastern Conference with the Toronto Raptors. However they are still within striking distance of a playoff spot as they are only one game behind the 7th seeded Cleveland Cavaliers.
Given the logjam near the last two playoff spots, this only adds to the importance of Chicago’s next two games as they face the New York Knicks over the course of three days.
Led by a familiar face in Tom Thibodeau, the Knicks have gotten off to a decent start relative to expectations with a record of 9-12. They are coming into this one in a slump like the Bulls, having lost four of their last five games. Last night against the Los Angeles Clippers, New York let their opponents shoot 54.3 percent from the field and 44.7 from three in a 129-115 loss.
Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and rookie Immanuel Quickley all have had good starts to the season. Quickley is the lesser-known player but scored 25 points off the bench against the Clippers. He’s been good when running the pick and roll, something the Bulls have struggled to defend.
Immanuel Quickley is already at 82.1 percentile as a PNR handler in his rookie season. The Bulls have the worst PNR handler defense in the league at 1.08 PPP.— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) February 1, 2021
Knicks at Bulls tonight.
Otto Porter Jr. is questionable with his now-lingering back issue. Wendell Carter Jr. is still out.
As for New York, Nerlens Noel is questionable with a left groin injury.
Game Time: 7PM CT
Odds: The Bulls opened as a four and a half point favorite but many places now have them at -4. The total is set at 218.5 but you can find 218 as well (all info via the Action Network)