Tonight the home team Chicago Bulls lost to the New York Knicks 117 -104. It was the return of former Bull stars Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose to the United Center, and they did not disappoint.
Derrick Rose showed flashes of his old self, scoring 15, with an incredibly high 11 assists and 7 rebounds. He kept the turnovers down for the most part as well, only committing 3 turnovers. Noah also had 16 points and 9 rebounds.
But the real story of the night was the faceoff between Knick’s bigman Kristaps Porzingis and the Bull’s Dwyane Wade. Porzingis, someone who new Knick’s coach Jeff Hornacek has been clamoring his team to give the ball to, had 27 points and 5 rebounds. He hit four 3s, and was 10 for 15 overall.
On the other hand, Dwyane Wade has this newly found skill in his game. It’s called the 3 point shot. Fans and analysts alike came into this year complaining that the Bulls had no spacing to be found in their starting 5. Coming into the game, Wade had been 5/12 from 3, giving him a percentage north of 40 on the season. Very surprising for a guy with a career 28.6 percentage from 3 point land.
Well the Bulls have found their spacing, and his name is Dwyane Wade. Tonight he scored 35 points along with 10 rebounds, as Chicago seemed to out rebound New York all night. Wade was 5 for 7 from 3, bringing his yearly totals from deep to 10 out of 19, nearly completing 50 percent of his shots from 3 point land.
Even though playing much better transition defense than the Knicks, the Bulls were not able to carry over a 2nd quarter run, as the Knicks outscored the Bulls by 14 in the second half.
Each member of the Knick’s starting 5 had at least 15 points. (The bench only scored 17.) Shooting 52 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3, everything was going down for New York.
The Bulls shot 44 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3, a poor showing against such a poor defensive team. Butler had 26 points, hitting 11 for 11 from the line. Mirotic had a strong second quarter where he had 10, but ended up scoring only 14 for the night off the bench.
Chicago out-rebounded New York 42 to 29 – the combination of Gibson, Lopez, Mirotic, and tonight even Wade, gives the Bull’s a fundamental advantage over teams that have low shooting performances. (Which tonight the Knicks unfortunately did not.)
- Derrick Rose flashed some of his talents of old. This finish right here is something pulled straight out of his MVP season.
- Also, his 3 turnovers were the result of him driving and doing that insanely stupid jump pass. It looks cool in highlights. It helped him rack up 11 assists against a poor defensive team on the perimeter. But at some point, he’s going to have a game in which he shoots 4/15, has 5 turnovers from that jump pass alone, and he gets pulled in favor of Brandon Jennings.
- This is random – Kyle O’Quinn off the bench in the high post was very intriguing – a few times he was able to hit a 16 footer with ease. With that Knick’s second unit (or really the lack thereof) I expect that to be a bright spot going forward.
- Carmelo Anthony. Oh joy. Carmelo Anthony is one of the league’s best and most talented isolation scorers. Tonight he showed that off, scoring 25 on 9 of 22 shooting. However, when watching this Knicks team, his play almost seems detrimental at times. Hornacek was brought in to New York to speed up the offense. Run the fastbreak. If a suddenly enlightened Carmelo decided he would push the ball, run the floor, and play defense, he’d get better and more open shots. It would make the Knicks a million times better. Will that happen? No. But it’s what will hold the Knicks back when push comes to shove come playoff time.
- Kristaps Porzingis needs the ball more. He needs to be taking more than 15 shots a game. His ability to stretch the floor, play big against guards in transition, make him a monster offensive threat. Some of his playmaking and decision making skills need refined. But Hornacek loves him for a reason. He will be the pulse for that team.
- Doug McDermott has really developed into an efficient offensive player. He can put the ball on the floor with multiple ways to get to the basket, as well as displaying his deadly 3. Even though he won’t be able to start because of his defensive inefficiencies, he will be one of the league’s best scorers off the bench. Count on it.
- Nikola Mirotic is another guy exactly like McDermott – his ability to stretch the floor and drive to the hoop make him very valuable, starter potential at some point. However, his lack of quickness on the perimeter make him a small 4. He’s able to rebound very well, however, so at some point don’t be surprised if Hoiberg often runs a small lineup with Gibson and Mirtoic as the two bigs.
- Christiano Felecio is the definition of a dark horse player. His ability to be the primary ball handler on top, a la Joakim Noah, as well as play excellent defense down low and on the perimeter, will get him valuable minutes with the second team, and he showed that tonight as well.
- Up Next: The Chicago Bulls play at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse against the Indiana Pacers Saturday the 5th 6:00 PM Central Time.