With the new boss starting this weekend, the Knicks hope to stop the bleeding of their six-game losing streak with a win against the Bulls.
Things are moving along quietly in New York. Leon Rose is set to officially assume the role of team president as of March 1st while the Knicks (17-42) lost a back-to-back, including a solid effort against the Philadelphia 76ers, en route to their current six-game losing streak.
The devil, however, is always in the details. Both Kevin Knox and R.J. Barrett continue to struggle and Mitchell Robinson is third in the big-man pecking order. Such is life.
Let’s talk about New York’s current matchup: the Chicago Bulls (20-39).
Know thy enemy
The Bulls are one of the biggest disappointments in the league, sitting 11th in the Eastern Conference. Zach LaVine has ascended to something slightly below stardom, but injuries to Otto Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. have zapped a team with playoff aspirations.
It also doesn’t help that they have one of the worst coaches in the league. Jim Boylen runs the Bulls like he’s coaching for Michigan State; a bizarre totalitarian who struggles to understand simple concepts during games. He should be let go at the end of the season.
The Bulls are a better defense than expected (11th in defensive efficiency), but are low on offense, ranking 27th. Part of it is due to the lack of a true point guard, but free agent addition Tomas Satoransky has struggled in a starting role
In short? It’s a battle of two teams who desperately need the season to end and for change to come. The Knicks, as ominous as it feels, have change in their grasp, while the Bulls remain dedicated to the GarPax regime. New York is favored -145, according to SBD’s odds for the upcoming game.
What to watch
Zach LaVine: LaVine (25.5 points, 4.2 assists) is good, but I don’t know if he’s great. Opinion aside, LaVine has become a lethal scorer for the Bulls and can heat up from three if left alone. Maurice Harkless probably doesn’t have the speed to defend him, but could create some intrigue with his length.
Defending Coby White: Another Bull to defend, Coby White could pester the Knicks with his ball handing and outside shooting. Last week, White went for 35 points with six made threes against Oklahoma City. The Knicks will need to avoid that.
— Reginald Armstrong (@reggiearmstrong) November 13, 2019
The big man matchup: Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., and former Knicks legend Luke Kornet are all out with various injuries. This is a matchup for someone like Julius Randle and Bobby Portis, two talented offensive players, to take advantage of rookie Daniel Gafford, who started the team’s last game.
UPDATE: 12:22 p.m. ET.
Frank Ntilikina and Taj Gibson are both probable for tonight’s game while Reggie Bullock is out alongside Dennis Smith Jr., the latter of whom will miss at least the next two games, the team announced.