It had been a long time since a poster between the Bulls and the Knicks had aroused so much anticipation before the game. This was the case last night, however, given the authoritative start to the season for both teams. On the pitch, the meeting kept all its promises and was as pleasant as it was disputed. And it is finally the New York franchise, globally dominant with its collective, which left Illinois with success (104-103), not without trembling to the end against Zach LaVine and his family.
Pushed by a fiery crowd, and still led by 13 points with two minutes remaining, the Chicago players actually had the opportunity to achieve the perfect robbery at the very last second. Except that DeMar DeRozan’s potential winning shot turned into an “air-ball”, to the chagrin of the United Center and to the delight of New York, which now has a record identical to that of its opponents in evening: four victories and one defeat.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– New York got scared. Dominators on the rebound and eager to play at a slow pace, as well as on half-court, so as not to let Chicago pick up speed and deploy its game on the counter-attack, the New York players were only led in the first quarter. Then, they quietly took the lead, with a lead of up to 13 points. But all their efforts could have gone up in smoke if DeMar DeRozan’s shot (20 points, 5 assists) had fallen in to the buzzer, after the Bulls inflicted a 12-0 in two minutes on the Knicks, in order to benefit from that ball. match.
– The Chicago bench suffered from the comparison. Certainly led by an Alex Caruso still as valuable and efficient (10 points, 6 assists, 2 interceptions), the “second-unit” of the Bulls could not resist that of the Knicks today. It must be said that between Derrick Rose, back home and greeted by “MVPs!” MVP! MVP! “, Alec Burks, Obi Toppin or Taj Gibson, also acclaimed by his former audience, Tom Thibodeau (also honored) can rely on various impact players out of the bench. Quite the opposite of Billy Donovan and that difference cost the Illinois franchise dearly over time.
– Julius Randle contributed otherwise. The Bulls had given the Knicks All-Star special treatment, leaving him absolutely no room early in the game, with permanent two-way strikes. Unable to find its rhythm in the scoring of the evening (13 points, 3/11 on shots), the New York interior has nevertheless managed to make itself indispensable in the victory of its own, close to the triple- double (16 rebounds, 9 assists). Even if his 0/2 on free throws, 5 seconds to go, could have been detrimental to his team.
✅ Kemba Walker. Already seen at ease against the Sixers on Tuesday night, the All-Star leader gave cover on Thursday, finishing with 21 points on the clock, 7/12 on shots and 5/6 on 3-points. Once again well in legs, and what is more surgical behind the arc, the former player of the Hornets and Celtics seems to gradually regain his feelings and, at the same time, his speed of execution. Bodes well for the Knicks.
✅ RJ Barrett. Like Kemba Walker, the Canadian was able to compensate for the more discreet scoring games of Julius Randle and Evan Fournier, by registering 20 points tonight. Always so physical and aggressive towards the circle, the 21-year-old back (only) has mainly rectified the shooting today, after his last three rather complicated outings offensively (9.7 points on average, 34% on shots and 19% on 3 points). What to start his season for good?
⛔ Lonzo Ball. The leader missed his team’s first real test this season, crossing the game like a shadow (6 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, 2/8 on shots), despite several interesting defensive streaks. The Bulls would have needed some offensive flashes from their conductor, but he never lived up to this poster, unlike his replacement, Alex Caruso.
NOSTALGY PERFUME AT THE UNITED CENTER
For this “Joakim Noah Night”, certainly marred by a defeat of the Bulls, many former players (more or less flagship) of the franchise were seen in the stands of the United Center this night. From Luol Deng to Carlos Boozer, including Kirk Hinrich, Thabo Sefolosha, Keith Bogans, Mike Dunleavy, Brian Scalabrine, Kurt Thomas, Nazr Mohammed and Omer Asik. Without forgetting Derrick Rose, Tom Thibodeau and Taj Gibson, present as close as possible to the field, since they are now in the camp of the Knicks.
As for Joakim Noah, the star of the evening, he was obviously entitled to a tribute video in his honor, as well as a ” standing ovation From his former audience.
Chicago (4-1) : reception from Utah, Saturday night to Sunday (2:00 am).
New York (4-1): moving to New Orleans, overnight from Saturday to Sunday (1:00 am).