In a season where people are beginning to question who is New York’s best basketball team considering the flashy moves of their neighbors the Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks have made some moves in the offseason that don’t quite have the flare of the Nets, but make them a more solid team. The Knickerbockers opened up their season with a 90-83 win against the Bucks. The Knicks feature Carmelo Anthony, last season’s scoring champion at 28.7 PPG. Melo brings a solid distributor in Raymond Felton, who when healthy is a savvy point guard who can get to the basket and is a key cog in making the Knicks offense dangerous.
The defense is bolstered by Tyson Chandler, a former Chicago Bull from 2001-2006. Chandler averaged a double-double last year with 10.4 PPG and 10.7 RPG, and opened up the season with 5 blocks against the Bucks. Chandler can directly change a game at any time with his thundering dunks and his defense, as opposing offenses have to be aware of his presence. The player I was always impressed with on the Knicks that I enjoy watching is Iman Shumpert. Shumpert returned last season after a season ending ACL injury the year prior and will be back for his first full season. The Knicks could have their shooting guard of the future in this young man, as a full offseason will no doubt help elevate his game to a new level.
The Bulls will attempt to rebound after a 107-95 opening loss to the Heat. Derrick Rose showed rust in his first regular season game since his surgery, as he played 34 minutes, scored 12 points on 4-15 shooting and 1-7 from 3 point range. The All-Star and Bulls unquestioned leader also added 4 assists and 5 turnovers (that hurt to even write). I would’ve never thought I’d write this, but Carlos Boozer was a man last night. Boozington scored 31 points — no, I swear he did — and added 7 rebounds. Boozer was aggressive to the basket and played with a purpose with every move he made, something he has failed to do on a consistent basis during his tenure with the Bulls. Jimmy Butler battled foul trouble to finish with 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Remove the 2nd quarter from the Bulls/Heat game, and the Bull outscored the Heat 77-70. Let’s maintain the optimism about the Bulls, even though any loss against the Heat always will prove a little more heartbreaking. But enough about that game.
The Bulls will have their hands full with Carmelo Anthony, as we can expect to see Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler guarding one of the most dynamic offensive players in the NBA. Mike Woodson has proven that he’s not afraid to utilize his bench based on the first game of the season against the Milwaukee Bucks, and I don’t expect that to change with their injury riddled roster. Derrick Rose will look to bounce back against the Knicks, as New York has no one on their roster that will be able to hang with the former MVP. The matchup I’m looking forward to in this game is Joakim Noah versus Tyson Chandler. Noah is still working himself into the offense, but the battle that two of the top centers in the Easter Conference will have tomorrow night will be the first true test for Noah on the young season. Expect the Bulls to bring it, and let’s hope the Knicks will have nightmares on West Madison Street Thursday night.
Make sure to grab Bulls tickets for the home opener to cheer on D Rose and the rest of Chicago!