Yesterday (Sunday, April 8th) the new-look New York Knicks hosted the Chicago Bulls in the Madison Square Garden for an afternoon throw down on Easter Day. The Knicks came out with guns blazing leading the Bulls 27-6 in the first quarter. As a Chicago fan I was far from worried because although this game meant the world to the Knicks, the most important thing to Bulls fans; or at least what should have been the most important thing, was how Derrick Rose played. Rose has missed 22 games this season and Easter Day was his first time back after missing 12 game in a row. The Knicks definitely hit the Bulls hard and shocked them in the first quarter but after two quick timeouts Tom Thibodeau got his team focused and motivated.
After leading by as much as 21 points in the first half the Bulls chipped away at that lead slowly but surely and wound up with a 10 point lead on the Knicks in the 4th quarter. This is when the blame game comes into effect. As previously stated this was Derrick Rose first game back after missing 12 games in a tow, yet and still, he wanted to takeover the game and single-handily seal the game for his team. After various failed attempt at isolation plays for Derrick Rose, four combined missed free throws from Luol Deng and Derrick Rose the Knicks were down by three until a 3-pointer by Carmelo Anthony sent the game to overtime. In overtime both teams went point for point until Carmelo made yet another big 3-pointer with 8 seconds left on the clock, but the Bulls could not score and the Knicks got the victory.
Now, this brings up the question: Are the Knicks finally living up to the hype? My answer would be NO. Plain and simple because they still do not have the fire power to upset a Chicago Bulls team or a Miami Heat team in the playoffs. Although Carmelo Anthony is plaing phenomenally right now, the absence of Amare Stoudemire will hurt them in a Bulls playoff match-up and the absence of Jeremy Lin will hurt them in a Miami Heat match-up. In my opinion to beat the Bulls you need a scoring back court which the Knicks would have with Carmelo and Amare but to beat the Heat you need rebounding and a scoring point guard which the Knicks would have in Jeremy Lin. The Bulls are a great defensive team and if the Knicks’ only go to scorer is Carmelo through a possible 7-game series the Bulls will find a way to force the ball out his hands or let him score and take the ball out of his supporting casts hands.
I can say going into next year I will probably like this Knicks team more than the Miami Heat because they have consistency in a dominant scorer in Carmelo, a scoring big in Amare Stoudemire, a top 5 center in Tyson Chandler, a good starting point guard in Jeremy Lin, a nice bench with J.R. Smith, Baron Davis, & Iman Shumpert, and they have a good defensive coach in Mike Woodson. The Heat solely have consistency in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, plus Udonis Haslem off the bench. I do not think Eric Spoelstra is a good coach and I do not think the Heat will win a championship with him as their coach. By next year the Eastern Conference will be much more interesting becuase of the Heat, Bulls, Knicks, and I am sure the Boston Celtics will make moves to improve for a last championship run with their core.