When: 8:00 PM
Where: United Center
Network: MSG, TNT
Starting Lineups (Subject To Change)
PG: Kirk Hinrich
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Carlos Boozer
C: Nazr Mohammed
PG: Pablo Prigioni
SG: Raymond Felton
SF: Iman Shumpert
PF: Carmelo Anthony
C: Chris Copeland
The division is clinched and the #2 seed as of the moment is firmly within reach of the Knicks as we wind down the regular season and head towards the playoffs.
This game tonight is an important one but the question about whether or not the Knicks should put forth the “maximum effort” is one to explore.
The Bulls are the team NOBODY wants to face in the first round. The Pacers, Nets and Knicks want nothing to do with this team. As it stands today, the Bulls should fall between the 5-6 seed which means it certainly looks like it will not be an issue for the Knicks.
The Knicks appear to be on a collision course for the Boston Celtics, in what could be the best series the Eastern Conference provides in the first round.
The Bulls right now are lined up to play the Nets, but only have a 0.5 game lead on Atlanta for that spot. The downside to playing in the 4-5 is the guarantee, barring the greatest upset in playoff history, of playing the Heat in the second round. The upside is getting the Nets rather than the Pacers or the Knicks.
For the Bulls, I don’t think they would mind too much if they did play the Knicks, as they are 3-0 against them and never trailed once in the two games played at MSG.
For the Knicks, the Bulls would easily be the last of the three possibilities that they want to see in the first round, no matter what they tell you.
A Knicks loss tonight would slice the lead for the #2 seed down to two games and give the Bulls a one game lead over the Hawks for the #5 spot. That would of course keep the Bulls out of the way of the Knicks till at least the Conference Finals and give them the shot at the Hawks they would love to have.
With both teams injured beyond normal comprehension, this game wont really prove much in terms of where they are compared to when they faced off three times in December and January.
I won’t be happy if they lose, but, I certainly wont be too concerned about the Knicks outside of their health at the end of the day.
You never want to lose a game, and the Knicks could win this one since the Bulls let the Wizards, Raptors and Pistons beat them recently.
But, it certainly is interesting to think about the future playoff ramifications that could come from the outcome tonight.
Enjoy the game!
Five Questions About Tonight’s Game
- Can Melo make it 35+ points for the sixth consecutive game?
- With so many players for each team out, will we learn anything about either team tonight?
- What is life like with Chris Copeland at Center?
- With only nine players, will the Knicks be able to deal with the physicality of the Bulls and not foul?
- Which Bulls team will show up, the one that won in Brooklyn or lost to the Pistons & Raptors the last two games?