Scouting The Opponent: Wizards and Bulls

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Luol Deng Makes the Bulls Go

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Luol Deng currently leads the NBA in minutes at a staggering 39.2 per game. Despite modest offensive numbers (16/6/3), it’s Deng’s all-around game that drives the Bulls. With Derrick Rose still sitting out following last season’s ACL tear, Deng has had to step up on both ends of the floor. Deng has elevated his game to new heights against the Knicks this season. In three games, he’s played a whopping 43.5 MPG, scored 28.0 PPG, and pulled down 7.7 RPG. He’s also taken his turn guarding Carmelo Anthony on the defensive end.

Although Deng is shooting just 31.9% from behind the arc this season, he’s managed to pour in six of 11 in the three games against New York, while shooting 53.2% from the field overall.

As is the case with John Wall, the Knicks will have to force Deng to beat them from the perimeter. Deng is 16-for-28 from within five feet against the Knicks this season, with those 28 attempts accounting for over 45% of his total attempts. His next most popular spot on the court is on the right wing, where he’s launched seven three-pointers. Deng may be known for his all-around game, but even his jack-of-all-trades style will suffer from not getting near the basket.

In what will almost certainly be another low-scoring affair, the Knicks will need to do what they can to limit Deng. The Knicks would also be wise to do what they can to make Deng work on the defensive end, since he’s almost assured to play 40+ minutes on Thursday night.

If the Knicks can keep John Wall and Luol Deng out of the paint and along the perimeter throwing up jumpers, the win streak may reach 14 games. What do you think are the keys to these games Knicks fans?

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images