On Saturday night at the United Center, in Chicago, the Knicks (14-5) were defeated by the Chicago Bulls (11-8) by the score of 93-85. Box Score
Raymond Felton led the Knicks in scoring tonight with 27 points on 9-30 shooting from the floor along with five rebounds and five assists.
Tyson Chandler had 14 points and a season high 18 rebounds including nine offensive rebounds
Luol Deng and Marco Belinelli tied for the team lead in scoring with 22 a piece. Belinelli scored 15 of his 22 in the first quarter.
The Knicks shot a season low 32% from the floor.
The Knicks are now 3-18 in their last 21 games against the Bulls in Chicago
The Knicks are now 7-5 on the road this season.
This is a loss that I think you can look at in three ways.
1. The Knicks played poorly and were lucky that the Bulls didn’t blow them out considering the shooting woes the Knicks had.
2. The Knicks let this game slip away because the Bulls could not put them away even with the poor shooting and with better shooting from Felton and Smith, they win this game.
3. This game was house money after the Miami win minus Melo. We all would have taken 2-1 on this road trip, move on and beat Denver at home tomorrow.
I think that anyone who takes up one of those three arguments will have a point, and you can most certainly add that missing Melo was a problem for the Knicks tonight as well. It was a loss that the Knicks will just have to move on from and they wont have any time to dwell on it with a game against Denver coming up tomorrow.
Raymond Felton led the Knicks in scoring again, but scoring 27 points on 30 shots is a pretty poor ratio. When I took a look at his shot chart the thing that stood out to me was that he was 4-13 down near the rim. I’m going to credit the Bulls defense, which was suffocating all night long, for that stat. Felton bounced back from a poor shooting game against the Nets to play some really good basketball during the winning streak so I will not doubt that he will get his game back on track. I have a feeling this will only be a bump in the road for Felton.
The Bulls are the best team at defending the three pointer in the league and they showed it once again against the Knicks tonight. After the game tonight, Joakim Noah said that pretty much the whole game plan was to keep them from shooting three’s. Considering the Knicks only had 23 attempts after averaging 42.5 the past two games, they did a pretty good job of executing the game plan. This was a night where the absence of a guy like Carmelo, who can create offense all on his own was missed, as Felton and J.R. Smith just didn’t have it going tonight.
Tyson Chandler had a strong game tonight, grabbing a season high 18 rebounds and did an ok job of not getting that 6th foul. But I have to give credit to the Bulls who got a couple of very easy baskets against Chandler because he did not want to foul out of the game. The Bulls down the stretch hit shot after shot and those couple of baskets inside against Chandler seemed to get their confidence up and help them to close this game out. Tyson did the best he could, just credit the Bulls for taking advantage of that situation.
J.R. Smith, we will always have Charlotte. He is in a pro-longed shooting slump now and he does make some wacky decisions especially on offense. I have watched enough of his game to know when he is just going to shoot it no matter how the defender plays him. Sometimes it works, like in Charlotte and sometimes it doesn’t work like it didn’t tonight. But J.R. is still one of my favorite players and, call me crazy, but he will shoot better soon and help the Knicks way more than he will hurt them as this season continues.
The Bulls, minus Derrick Rose, are still a good team because of this simple philosophy. Your offense can come and go from game to game but defense should never take a night off, and the Bulls on D never takes a night off. The defense the Bulls had tonight, was all over the place keeping the Knicks in check. The Knicks had no easy looks at the rim, the Bulls guarded the three well and forced the Knicks into some very tough, long range jumpers. We have said all along that when Amar’e and Shumpert come back we really should get better and you can say the same about the Bulls when Rose comes back.
This was a tough game to watch unless you enjoy defensive basketball which, even though brings back memories of the great Knicks teams of the 90’s, was not a whole lot of fun tonight. Then again, if the Knicks won the game, it would have been great. At the end of the day, the Knicks wont have to wait long to get back on the court to play again and wash away this performance as they play on Sunday Night. If Carmelo can come back, which he thinks is possible, that will be great because the Knicks need him back sooner rather than later.
Coming up next, the Knicks now head back home and look to keep their home winning streak alive, as they take on Andre Iguodala, Danillo Gallinari and the Denver Nuggets at Madison Square Garden. The game will begin at 7:30 pm on Sunday and will be shown on MSG