The Knicks match up against the Bulls tonight in Porzingis’ second game back from injury.
After a morale-boosting win against Memphis on Wednesday, New York (12-12) is looking to pick up their thirteenth win of the season against the lowly Bulls (4-20).
Although KP is back after missing a few games due to a sprained ankle, the Knicks have struggled to score without Tim Hardaway Jr., who remains out of the lineup with a stress injury in his left leg. New York will have to rely on others to carry the scoring load in the coming days, as Timmy looks like he’ll miss a good amount of time, but the Knickerbockers shouldn’t worry about that too much tonight, as they’re going up against the team ranked 30th in the league in defense and offense.
Let’s take a look a few notes going into tonight’s game:
In his second game back from injury, Porzingis will look to bounce back from a rough night against Memphis. In 34 minutes of action, KP was only able to put up 18 points and five boards, and just didn’t look comfortable out there. Hopefully with that first game under his belt Kristaps will get back to his old self and take advantage of Chicago’s swiss-cheese defense to get some easy buckets.
WHO WILL TAKE TIMMY’S SPOT IN THE STARTING LINEUP?
In the wake of Hardaway Jr.’s injury, the Knicks’ coaching staff has experimented with inserting different players into the starting five. First, Damyean Dotson got the spot, probably as to not disturb the bench rotations too much. However, after two uneventful starts for Dotson, Courtney Lee was slotted to the 2 and Lance Thomas started at the 3.
It’ll be interesting to see who Coach Hornacek decides to go with tonight, as he has plenty of options to pick from. If he doesn’t go with Lance again, Michael Beasley or Doug McDermott seem to me like good picks, as they would give some extra size and be able to pick up some of the scoring load left by Timmy’s absence.
HOW ARE THE BULLS DOING?
The Bulls have been pretty awful this year. As I mentioned earlier, they’re currently owners of the league’s worst offense and defense, a rare feat. Expectations for this team going into the season were about as low as they could be for a team whose best player is Robin Lopez (miss you RoLo), and Chicago has lived down to them. The Bulls have only scrapped together four wins through 24 games, and don’t show any signs of heating up any time soon.
Rookie Lauri Markkanen has been a bright spot for Chicago, averaging 14.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Markkanen was rumored to be a potential replacement for KP if he were traded, back when Phil Jackson was still in charge of the team and threatening to ruin the lives of Knicks fans by trading away Porzingis. When Kristaps was asked about rumors that he could have been replaced by Markkanen, he had this to say:
With the Knicks facing the Bulls tomorrow, Kristaps Porzingis was asked – lightheartedly – about reports in late June that stated Phil Jackson & NYK had interest in drafting Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen as a replacement for Porzingis if he were traded: pic.twitter.com/vz6YXNFZ35
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) December 8, 2017
Side note: I’m so glad that Phil’s gone.
The Knicks shouldn’t have too much trouble tonight, but after all, these are the Knicks. Hopefully our boys in orange and blue are able to pick up the win tonight and finally get back over .500.
Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. EST from the United Center.