Knicks @ Bulls 8 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
New York: Tyson Chandler returned from his two-game absence and head coach Mike D’Antoni placed the big man in the starting lineup next to Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Landry Fields, and Jeremy Lin. Unfortunately, the Knicks could not snap the losing skid that has now extended to five games after the loss to Philadelphia. According to the latest Eastern Conference standings, New York sits in the No. 8 position, one game up on the Bucks and Cavaliers.
Chicago: Over a month ago, Derrick Rose dropped 32 points on the Knicks in a 105-102 victory at Madison Square Garden. Not much has changed as the Bulls own the East’s best record at 34-9 heading into the rematch on Monday night. Chicago is 9-1 in its last 10 outings despite some setbacks on the roster. Three starters missed Saturday’s contest against Utah as Luol Deng, Richard Hamilton, and Joakim Noah all were sidelined for vavrios injuries. While the Bulls were able to capture a victory, the team will certainly need complete health across the board in order to compete for a championship. Chicago is in the midst of a long six-game homestand and will host Miami, Portland, and Philadelphia following the battle against the Knicks to jumpstart the week.
Last Time Out
New York: Despite 22 points from Anthony and a strong start, the Knicks fell 106-94 on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
Chicago: Led by Carlos Boozer’s 27 points and eight boards, the Bulls topped Utah on Saturday night, 111-97.
The Numbers Game
Chandler hit the court on Sunday and registered eight points. The seven-footer ranks No. 1 in field goal percentage by hitting an impressive 68.7 percent of his attempts from the floor.
Match-up to Watch
Knicks backcourt vs. Derrick Rose
The reigning MVP’s numbers have dipped in comparison to last year’s remarkable output. Rose is still a handful for any opposing point guard but the strategy will most likely involve a group effort for the Knicks. It would come as no surprise to see rookie Iman Shumpert receive a bulk of the minutes against Rose as New York’s best on-ball defender. Additionally, the Knicks will attempt to crowd and use Chandler to alter his shots inside the paint. From an offensive standpoint, Lin and Baron Davis must attack Rose and hope the 23-year old burns some of his energy on the defensive side of the floor. When Rose’s productivity drops, Chicago struggles to score and the Knicks will have a shot at knocking off the top team in the East.
What to Look For
When glancing back at the first matchup against the Bulls in early February, New York found a way to post 102 points behind the two-headed monster of Anthony and Stoudemire. Both players combined for 60 points and 17 rebounds to go along with 17 from Landry Fields and 10 out of Shumpert. If the Knicks can duplicate the offensive production against the stifling Chicago defense, they should remain close on Monday night. The key is to disrupt the Bulls flow as they rank No. 1 in assists per game, not to mention No. 2 in rebounds, No. 2 in points allowed, and No. 7 in points per game. A win over this elite team to snap a five-game losing skid will inject much needed confidence into the road squad.