Keys To The Game: Bulls at Knicks (12.2.21)

Remind Me Later

Body

The Chicago Bulls picked up a thrilling 133-119 victory over the Charlotte Hornets at the UC before they embark on their two-game New York road trip.

The Bulls will take on the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets before they return home to face the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.

Chicago split their first two matchups with the Knicks, both at the United Center, with both teams bringing great defensive intensity each time. In the third matchup between these two teams, offensively-potent point guard Kemba Walker is unlikely to play, as he has since fallen out of Tom Thibodeau's rotation.

K-Y-P: Know Your Personnel

One of Stacey King's favorite phrases will especially ring true in this matchup. Thursday night will mark the third time the Bulls are matching up with the Knicks this season.

New York presents some intriguing matchup issues for Chicago but it's important for the Bulls to adjust to key changes like Kemba Walker being out of the rotation. Walker scored 21 points against the Bulls in the first matchup but has since been removed from the rotation for defensive reasons and replaced by Alec Burks.

Alex Burks

Continue To Attack The Paint On Offense

The Chicago Bulls finally got Nikola Vucevic back on track with a massive-for-his-confidence 30-point, 14-rebound double-double in the win over Charlotte. His passing and rebounding continued to play a massive role in Chicago's success but his shot finally started to fall.

The Knicks have some of the more intimidating shot-blockers in the league in Mitchell Robinson and Nerlens Noel, but the Bulls can't be afraid to go right at them. Vucevic's 2nd-highest scoring game of the season was a 22-point outing against the Knicks in late October.

DeMar shot attempt on Gordon Hayward

Transition Offense

New York has a fierce defensive unit, so the smartest way to attack them is by spacing them out and attacking in transition before they have a chance to set up in the halfcourt.

Chicago is one of the best teams in the NBA in terms of fastbreak points per game (14.1 ppg, 7th in the league). But in each of their two matchups with the Knicks, the Bulls were held to single-digit fastbreak points.

Taking advantage of opportunities to advance the ball up the court quickly will be of paramount importance in this matchup. The easiest way to ensure an efficient Bulls offensive attack on Thursday night is to get right into the chest of NY's shot-blockers before they have a chance to alter shots.

Javonte Green dunk
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