By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Bulls | United Center
When: Wednesday | 8:00 PM
Where to Watch: TNT
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: After building up a 25-point lead during an energized first half, the Knicks squeaked out a 90-83 opening night victory over the Bucks last night at Madison Square Garden. By holding Milwaukee to 83 points, they were able to make up for an atypicial 3-for-13 shooting effort from three and escape with the win. The defensive effort was encouraging, as was the home tam's response to the Bucks' late rally. Now it's on to Chicago, where they'll face Derrick Rose in what is sure to be an electric atmosphere for a nationally-televised game.
Chicago: Rose's return is the story for the Bulls, who return home after a decisive 12-point loss in Miami on opening night. The team mostly stood pat over the offseason, putting a lot of pressure on Rose, playing his first game at the United Center in over a year. Former Knick assistant coach Tom Thibodeau is known for his advanced defensive schemes, and it's on that end where Chicago forms its identity.
The Numbers Game
Despite a modest stat line of seven points and five assists, Pablo Prigioni led the Knicks with a +19 rating on the night -- meaning that New York outscored Milwaukee by 19 points when he was on the court.
Matchup to Watch
Iman Shumpert vs. Jimmy Butler
Rose and Carmelo Anthony might be the marquee names in this matchup, but Shumpert and Butler are crucial to their teams' success this year. Both young wings are mature defenders for their age, with the versatility to guard multiple positions and apply relentless pressure. Like Shumpert, who dropped 16 points last night before leaving with cramps, his team is counting on Butler to assume a larger role in the offense this year.
What to Look For
After starting new acquisition Andrea Bargnani in all seven preseason games, Mike Woodson elected to start the same unit that propelled the Knicks to an Atlantic Division title last season in the opener. With Raymond Felton and Prigioni sharing the backcourt, the Knicks had good ball movement, expecially early on. Woodson said he plans to give Bargnani more minutes tonight against Chicago's size, but it's become clear that the coaching staff feels comfortable tweaking the rotation to optimize matchups.
Initially listed as a gametime decision due to a sore neck, Rose left little doubt about his status for tonight at this morning's shootaround:
DRose: "Oh hell yeah, for sure I'm going to play tonight." #Bulls— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) October 31, 2013