Adam ZagoriaThe Knicks will take the floor at the United Center tonight against Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls, but for Iman Shumpert it’s just another big “home” game.
“Oh, it’s a big-time home game for us,” the Oak Park, Ill., native cracked after going for 16 points in the Knicks 90-83 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
The game is expected to feature the first matchup between Rose and Shumpert since both tore their ACLs the same day in April 2012 during the NBA playoffs. Shumpert returned last January and eventually got back into good enough form to play exceptionally well in the playoffs.
Rose didn’t play at all last season and made his regular-season return when the Bulls lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat, 107-95, on opening night. Now, Shumpert figures to spend some time guarding the explosive Rose in this tilt.
Reports out of Chicago have Rose listed as a gametime decision with a stiff neck, but he told the Chicago Tribune, ”Oh hell yeah, for sure I’m going to play tonight.”
“I’m know I’m going to see some of Derrick Rose [Thursday],” Shumpert said.
Asked if he was excited about the matchup, Shumpert said, “Of course. There’s nothing to hide. Big-time home game.”
Shumpert could make a statement tonight by helping to contain the Rose, and Knicks President and GM Steve Mills said before Wednesday’s game he believes Shumpert has a high ceiling going forward.
“I think he has an opportunity to be a really good player in this league,” Mills said. “He’s such a strong defensive player, and came in as … a real stopper. We’ve encouraged him to work on his offensive game. We’ve spent a lot of time and have people assigned to help him do that, so I think he has an opportunity to be a really, really complete player in the league.”