Bulls Look to Keep Winning Against Imploding Knicks

Surprise! Things are bad!

Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE

Twenty years ago, Knicks vs. Bulls was one of the greatest shows on the hardcourt. Fans could be sure that New York’s scrap pack of John Starks, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, and Pat Ewing would empty their gas tank to beat Michael Jordan’s Bulls. Twenty years later, though…

The Knicks are a joke (thanks to front office incompetence led by James Dolan and Co.) well on their way to tossing another season away to snag the best talent available in the loaded ’17 Draft Class. Their best player, Carmelo Anthony, feels like he’s being pushed out by Dolan and Phil Jackson, and their brightest prospect, Kristaps Porzingis, has a slightly lower PER than he did his rookie season.

via The Knicks Wall/SoundCloud

The Bulls, meanwhile, look to win their fifth game in a row, and cement their place over the Bucks as the East’s seventh seed.

‘Melo Out?

Anthony recently told media that he sees “the writing on the wall” as far as his tenure in New York. He’ll meet with the front office at the end of the season for a standard exit interview that should be anything but standard.

“The chips will be on the table,” Anthony said regarding the exit meeting. “Honestly, I don’t know what to expect but I got a good feeling. Yeah, the chips will be on the table.” (via NorthJersey)

In the meantime, Anthony will return to action tonight against the Bulls after a two-game absence due to a back injury, and he’ll play the last five games of the season.

Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE

Rose tears meniscus

The artist formerly known as Derrick Rose will miss the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus in his left knee, the Knicks announced Sunday. Recovery is expected to be short — about eight weeks of rehab — but it certainly throws a monkey wrench into Rose’s free agency this summer. His one-year expiring is ending, and Rose will be hard-pressed to find a long-term suitor for a notoriously fragile, one-dimensional scorer that relies on his ability to beat guys off the dribble. Especially coming off yet another knee injury, no matter how minor.

And I’ll bet my life that the Knicks won’t resign him, especially with the likelihood that they take a top points guard prospect in the draft. Actually, since it’s the worst possible move, I take that back; I predict Jimmy Dolan and the Zen Statue give Rose the super-max.

Tank Watch

The Knicks aren’t even the best at losing. After dropping five games in a row to boost their lottery odds, the Knicks are now 2–2 over their last four, with the two wins coming against a resurgent Heat and a hungry Pistons squad.

With just five games left, it’s all but impossible for the Knicks (29–48) to catch the Nets, Suns, or Lakers, who are all neck-and-neck for the worst record. This means the Knicks will likely end up with the fifth pick, and only the top two or three prospects are considered “sure things,” if those even exist. That’s significant. It means Knicks fans can forget about Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson, and probably De’Aaron Fox. Not that there aren’t excellent prospects after those four, but talent evaluation gets a lot tougher with every pick that rolls by.

Side note: It’s mildly shocking that the Nets might not finish in last place. They’re 5–5 over their last 10 games, after starting 13–53.

Running with the Bulls

Chicago is going the complete opposite direction as the Knickerbockers. They’ve won their last four and are a safe bet to extend that streak to five against the Knicks on Tuesday.

Jimmy Butler has been sensational, putting up 30.6 points over his last five games (via NBA Stats). Rajon “Franklin the Turtle” Rondo has been a pleasant surprise for the Bulls, averaging 11.6 points, 8.4 assists, and 6.1 rebounds over his last nine games. Related: the Bulls have been without Dwyane Wade for the last nine games, who is missing the rest of the season with a dislocated elbow.

The Bulls are rolling and their young, in-his-prime superstar has found his groove at just the right time. The Knicks are in total disarray, and their aging, past-his-prime superstar seems more and more disgruntled by the minute.

Prediction: Bulls 107, Knicks 91

Tip-off is at 8:00 pm EST.

UPDATE: 6:21pm.

Carmelo is in as expected, but Kristaps Porzingis is out tonight and expected back for the next game.

Harrison Liao, site writer

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