Two of the big market teams that are hoping to make a run at the NBA title this year duke it out on the Thursday night basketball odds on TNT when the Chicago Bulls visit the New York Knicks.
The hope for the Bulls is that this is the night that Luol Deng gets back in the lineup. He has been listed as questionable for a number of games with a hand injury, and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau has taken things very slowly with the former Duke Blue Devil, giving him as much time as he needs to get back to full strength. When these Bulls are playing with a full team, they are one of the most dangerous squads in the entire league. Derrick Rose is an assassin of a scorer and is one of the best point guards in the game, and the team plays fantastic defense from start to finish in most games thanks to the prowess of Thibodeau as one of the defensive masterminds of the game. The real advantage that this team has though, is its length and athleticism. Chicago is +5 on the boards on the average night, the best margin of victory on the glass in the game. Not only does Rose get down and dirty with the bigs and pick up over three boards per game, but Deng, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah all have double-double capabilities, while Omer Asik is a huge benefit off of the bench as well.
The time is going to come for the Knicks when the reality sets in that something has to change. This is a team that has a tremendous duo of stars in Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, but neither one has lived up to the hype this season Sure, Melo has averaged 23.7 points per game, which is a great number, but in the end, he has been far too inconsistent to be a team star. Stoudemire is only good for 17.6 points and 8.0 boards per game, and his game has really failed to mesh with that of the newly acquired Tyson Chandler, who is averaging 11.0 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Getting rid of Chauncey Billups probably wasn’t the smartest move in the world (though it did ensure that the team had the money to ink Chandler in the offseason), but all of a sudden, rookie Iman Shumpert has proven that he has the goods to play in this league. He is only shooting 36.6 percent from the floor, one of the worst marks in the entire league, but he is certainly doing better than either Landry Fields or Toney Douglas ever did running the point.
The Final Word: The Knicks are only 2-11 ATS in their last 13 games played here at Madison Square Garden, and they clearly look like a frustrated team. We just don’t see how the Bulls, even though they are coming off of a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers as well, are going to struggle for the second straight night. Go with Chicago to take this one down on national television.
Chicago Bulls @ New York Knicks Pick: Chicago Bulls
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.