Pre-Game Report: New York Knicks at Chicago Bulls

New York Knicks (29-27) at Chicago Bulls (43-14)
9:30 PM EST, April 10, 2012
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
TV: ESPN

Bulls Projected Starting Line-Up:

PG: Derrick Rose (Game-Time Decision)
SG: Richard Hamilton
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Carlos Boozer
C: Joakim Noah

The New York Knicks will play the Bulls for a second consecutive time, but this game will be held in Chicago. In their previous meeting, Carmelo Anthony hit the game winner for the Knicks and out-played Derrick Rose with 43 points.

Anthony had the Garden rocking on Sunday and the Bulls walked off with a heart-breaking loss in overtime. However, with their home-town crowd behind them, the Bulls will be looking to complete their revenge.

Frontcourt:

The Bulls’ frontcourt has the potential to be very dangerous with three defensive anchors, but if they perform like they did against the Knicks on Sunday, Chicago will have trouble tonight. Joakim Noah usual dominates the paint for the Bulls and is quite often reliable on the glass. However, he did not play well on Sunday and grabbed only five rebounds and scored ten points. Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng scored 13 points each on Sunday and Boozer added in with 16 rebounds. These two players are more reliable than Noah, and should be the center pieces to the Bulls’ offense if Rose cannot play. In the time without the MVP, Boozer and Deng were the Bulls’ leaders, so the Knicks should be weary of a prolific scoring night from these players.

Backcourt:

Derrick Rose is a game-time decision for tonight’s game with an ankle injury and if he cannot suit up, expect John Lucas III to fill in. Rose is obviously an explosive player, but if he does play, the Bulls will continue to struggle as they assimilate him into the offense. At this point, the Bulls will have a better chance with Lucas in the lineup as he will facilitate a more balanced offense. Richard Hamilton will be the two-guard for this game, but he is also trying to get into game shape after missing an extended amount of time and should not cause too much stress for the Knicks’ coaching staff.

Keys to Victory: 

1. Continue with the stellar defense- The New York Knicks have become one of the best defensive teams under Mike Woodson and they are beginning to use their defense to set-up the offense. The Knicks played great defense against the Bulls on Sunday and will need the same effort tonight in Chicago.

2. Allow Carmelo Anthony to be the star player- Carmelo Anthony scored 43 points against the Bulls on Sunday and was the go-to-guy for the Knicks. If New York wants the same result tonight, they must allow Anthony to once again be the center-piece to the offense.

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