This is not going to be a recap of last night’s game; instead this is going to address something that seems so far away, which is the NBA Playoffs.
While the first third of the season is done and the halfway point isn’t for another month it may seem silly to address the Playoffs right now. But the way the Chicago Bulls handled the New York Knicks last night can be looked at as a Playoff worthy match-up.
The Bulls have played the Knicks three times and won all three of them and while there may be specific reasons as to why such as good individual performances, injuries, or fights I like to think it’s based on match-ups. Chicago seems to have New York’s number and no matter the circumstances seem to be able to out play them every time they face each other. The victories point to a few things but the main one I think is match-ups. Match-ups are usually the biggest factor in the Playoffs and during the regular season can make a statement about certain teams. The statement for these two teams is that no matter what New York does it seems that Chicago can outplay them.
Chicago right now is ranked 5th in the East while New York is ranked 2nd. It is unlikely that these two teams would meet in the first round of the playoffs but a second round match-up isn’t out of the question. If these two teams competed in a seven-game series, I think it would be a hugely televised series and a hugely popular series as well. These two teams are bringing back an old rivalry and so far the Bulls are continuing their dominance of it.
But why? In the first game, Chicago had two players score 22 points and shut down the Knicks three point barrage. The Knicks were also without star Carmelo Anthony. The second game resembled the rivalry of old where both teams came out aggressive and chippy. Anthony and Tyson Chandler were ejected along with Joakim Noah but despite the absences Luol Deng dropped 29 points while Marco Belinelli added 22 points. And finally there was last night’s game where Deng went off for 33 points and four others hit double digits for the Bulls.
So just like the Milwaukee Bucks seem to have Chicago’s number it seems that Chicago has New York’s number. Luckily for New York, they get one more shot at Chicago in April to break the chain. Until then, if Chicago continues to stifle opponents with a balanced attack and continue to shoot hot from the field I don’ t think there is an opponent who can beat them.