welcome home Bulls
Bulls are back…at home. After their 3-2 west coast road trip ended on a positive note, the Bulls are in Chicago for the first time in eleven nights. ‘First game back from a road trip’ is, I think, some kind of trap? I don’t know if that’s true or just anecdotal.
They’re hosting the Knicks, who played last night in New York coming back to beat the tank-y Houston Rockets. That game was emblematic of a trend for the Knicks lately, where their starters are getting the team off to slow starts and relying on bench contributors Alec Burks, Immanuel Quickley, and Derrick Rose to bring them back. Their starters all have negative +/- for the season, with Kemba Walker at a team-worst -13.2 per100poss.
This has correlated into their recent slide to be a merely average-ish team, at 9-7 and 13th in Net Rating (+1). Surprisingly for a Thibs team, their defense has slipped to 17th and I think that’s actually higher than it was last week. It’ll be fascinating to track the rebounding. The Vuc-less Bulls have had games where they were still able to dominate the glass even while undersized, including their last game against the Jokic-less Nuggets. The Knicks are a mere 23rd in defensive rebounding so this may be an area where the Bulls do not lose an advantage of their smaller quicker lineups.
No change for the Bulls
For the Knicks, the legend Taj Gibson is questionable, and Mitchell Robinson is out. They do still have Nerlens Noel in the frontcourt, but he’s only sporadically played this season.
Game Time: 7pm Central, NBC Sports Chicago