Like it or not the New York Knicks are red hot with a record of 19-6 which includes the best home record in the league at 11-1. The Chicago Bulls , however come into tonight’s game against the Knicks first in the Central Division with a record of 14-10; having beat New York just two weeks ago in Chicago. But in order for the Bulls to walk out of MSG tonight with a win there are some things they must do:
5. Bench play
JR Smith and Nate Robinson are both streaky shooters. Either can come into the game for their respective teams and light it up, but it’s important that the Bulls get the better end of this deal. Chicago will need all the scoring they can get so its important that Robinson along with the rest of the Bulls’ bench play well.
4. Kirk Hinrich
The world hasn’t ended yet so why is Hinrich playing like the walking dead? Hinrich has underperformed (and I’m being generous) but that must end tonight. If Hinrich doesn’t wake up and play ball Raymond Felton will indeed run all over him. He needs to take pride in his game (or what’s left of it anyway) and make it a point to keep Felton in front of him. His on ball defense against Felton will be key.
3. Luol Deng
Deng tends to fade in and out offensively but he can’t fade tonight. He has to play big. Be aggressive, taking the ball to basket and hitting open jump shots. Its important that Deng plays well because the Bulls are going to need his scoring to offset Carmelo Anthony . Please don’t fade tonight Luol. Please!
2. Carlos Boozer
Boozer is another player who has to play big. I know. I know. He’s not the most athletic player and he’s a liability on defense at times but that’s got to change. No “Cruise Booz” tonight. Don’t settle for fade aways. Play big, crash the boards, and for crying out loud move your feet on defense. Its imperative that Boozer plays with high energy and effort tonight, because Joakim Noah is going to need his help on the front line.
1. Contain Melo
I know it’s easier said than done, but in order for Chicago to pull out a victory tonight they must contain Melo as best they can. Boozer,Taj Gibson and Deng will all get a chance to guard him. Attempting to throw different defenders at him will keep him guessing (at least in theory). If all else fails Chicago will have to double team him. Make someone else on the Knicks beat you.
The Bulls have their work cut out for them, but if the do everything on this list they can and will come out with a victory.