Bulls Projected Starting Line-Up:
PG: Derrick Rose
SG: Richard Hamilton
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Carlos Boozer
C: Joakim Noah
The Chicago Bulls will head to Madison Square Garden today to face off with the New York Knicks, a team they could play in the first round of the playoffs. The Knicks will be without two stars, Amar'e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, whereas the Bulls will get back their MVP. Derrick Rose is expected to return to the lineup today, something the Knicks surely did not want to see.
The Chicago Bulls have a very versatile frontcourt as it can be deadly on both ends of the court. The Bulls have two defense anchors in Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah and a lock-down perimeter defender in Luol Deng. Deng and Boozer carry the scoring load for the frontcourt, and those two have led the Bulls in the time without Derrick Rose. As for Noah, he is the hustle man for the Bulls and can single-handedly change the momentum of the game. This season, Noah has been averaging 9.8 rebounds and he has provided the Bulls with an endless amount of energy. Deng has put up 15.7 points and 6.4 rebounds for the Bulls this season, and Boozer puts up 15.4 points and 8.5 rebounds.
The Chicago Bulls have a very talented backcourt and one that can carry this team to the NBA Finals. However, due to injuries, Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton have not seen a lot of playing time together. Hamilton was supposed to be the second scoring option for this Bulls team, and although he has the potential, he has not seen a lot of playing time this season. If Hamilton gets off to a fast start for the Bulls and finds his offensive groove, the Knicks will be in trouble. But perhaps the biggest worry of the Knicks' coaching staff is the return of Derrick Rose. Rose missed over ten games with a groin injury, but it seems as though the MVP will play in today's game. Although the Bulls have played well without Rose, he is the centerpiece to the offense and will make this team much better. Rose has been averaging 22.8 points and 8.0 assists per game, and is someone who uses his speed and agility to attack the basket.
Keys to Victory:
1. Keep Boozer and Noah off the glass- The New York Knicks will face on of the toughest defensive teams in the NBA today, and they cannot afford to let the Bulls dominate the glass on either end. New York will be without Amar'e Stoudemire for this game, so they need players to step-up in the paint.
2- Limit Rose to a sub-par game- With Rose missing weeks of basketball, it may seem a little easier to keep him to a mediocre game. Rose may be rusty to open the game, so the Knicks must make sure they take full advantage of his struggles.