#505 Chicago Bullsvs.#506 New York Knicks
Thursday, January 1 2017, at 8:05pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala
Chicago Bulls (19-20 SU, 19-20 ATS, 14-24-1 O/U) vs. New York Knicks (17-21 SU, 22-16 ATS, 20-18 O/U)
NBA: Thursday, January 12, 2017, Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, 8 pm ET
Line: New York -3; Over/Under: 205
It’s a matchup of Eastern Conference foes below the .500 mark trying to make a run in the playoff picture in the Big Apple. The Chicago Bulls are on the road as they face the New York Knicks Thursday night. Chicago lost their second straight with a 101-99 loss on the road to the Wizards Tuesday. New York was in action Wednesday night as they traveled to face the 76ers in an Atlantic Division matchup. Chicago holds a 118-102 advantage in the all-time regular season series but the Knicks took the last three. That includes a 117-104 win on the road in the first matchup this season on November 4, 2016.
Chicago gave it a vaunted effort but couldn’t hang on to knock off the Wizards on the road. The second game of a back to back with a depleted roster caught up with the Bulls, who allowed the winning bucket with 5.9 seconds to play. Chicago led as many as 16 in the first quarter and by 12 at the half before being outscored 32-16 in the third. The Bulls were limited to 39.8 percent shooting from the field and 10 of 27 from three point range in the contest. Chicago forced 21 turnovers and hit 19 of 21 free throws to Washington’s 6 of 9. The Bulls were burned by Washington’s hot shooting as the Wizards hit 50.6 percent from the field and 11 of 22 from three point range. Denzel Valentine had 19 off the bench to lead Chicago. Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic all missed the game: Wade is the only one expected to play here.
The Bulls come into this contest 23rd in the league with 101.5 points per game this season. Chicago is 1st in the league in rebounding with 47.5 boards per contest. The Bulls are 22nd in the league in assists with 21 dimes per game. Chicago is 6th in scoring defense as they allow 101.4 points a night. Jimmy Butler leads the team with 25 points plus 6.7 rebounds per game. Dwyane Wade averages 18.7 points plus 4.1 rebounds per game. Taj Gibson chips in 11.8 points plus seven boards a night, Doug McDermott averages 10 points per game and Nikola Mirotic contributes 9.5 points plus 5.5 rebounds per game. Robin Lopez (9.1 points, 7.1 rebounds), Michael Carter-Williams, Rajon Rondo and Bobby Portis all are key pieces for coach Fred Hoiberg. Chicago is 28th in field goal percentage by shooting 43.3 percent from the floor. The Bulls are last in the league by splashing 6.5 threes per game and is last in the league by shooting 31.8 percent from beyond the arc.
New York was in action against the 76ers on the road as they tried to stop a slump that saw them lose eight of their last nine games. The Knicks went into Wednesday’s tilt 11th in the Eastern Conference standings, 11.5 games behind the Cavaliers for the top spot. New York is eight games behind the Raptors for the top spot in the Atlantic Division standings. The Knicks entered the game 2.5 games behind the Hornets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. New York is 11-8 at home this season and has gone 9-12 against the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks are 13th in the league in scoring as they average 105.5 points per game. New York is 3rd in the league in rebounding with 45.7 boards per contest while standing tied for 17th with 21.7 assists per game. The Knicks are 25th in scoring defense as they allow 108.9 points per game. Carmelo Anthony puts up 21.9 points plus 6.1 boards per game for the Knicks. Kristaps Porzingis averages 19.8 points and 7.6 boards a night while Derrick Rose is kicking in 17.3 points plus 4.5 assists a game. Courtney Lee (10 ppg), Justin Holiday, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings and Lance Thomas all will be looked at to contribute going forward. The Knicks are 21st in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.4 percent as a team. New York is tied for 14th with 9.3 threes per game while ranking 11th in three point shooting as they hit 36.6 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
The Bulls are banged up but they took the Wizards to the closing seconds despite being minus their two best players. Chicago still will be minus Butler and Mirotic here but Wade should back in action. The Knicks are playing their second game in as many nights and they haven’t had much luck of late. Both teams are playing their third game in four nights but you have to give the slim edge to the Bulls with having the day off. Take the points here and Chicago, even on the road.
This one is going to be a battle of depleted rotations. Butler and Mirotic were sent back to Chicago as they continue to battle illness. Butler was dreadful against the Thunder Monday, going 0 for 6 from the floor and finishing with one point in 29 minutes. That takes away a pair of solid performers from the Bulls and means that other guys are going to have to step up. The Knicks have seemingly been trying to do more with less all season long and are playing their second game of a back to back and third in four nights here as well.
The under has hit in each of the Bulls’ last eight Thursday games. In addition, the under is 20-6-2 in the Bulls’ last 28 on the road. The Knicks have gone under in 17 of their last 23 at home against teams with a losing road record and in five of their last seven against teams with a losing record. With both teams banged up and playing their third game in four nights, it’s likely that this is a lower scoring affair, making the under an attractive option.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.