Two teams familiar with each other meet up in the February 3rd Knicks at Bulls pick. Chicago picked up a 110-102 win on Monday as -3.5 favorites, but New York was playing on the back-to-back in that game. After a night of rest, does New York get the edge here?
Chicago’s win last time out did snap a 3-game losing streak, but have they turned the corner or were just taking advantage of a tired opponent? The Knicks aren’t exactly tearing things up either though, losers of five of their last six. Oddsmakers are expecting another defense battle, setting the betting total at 217.
Thibs Tries to Get One
Tom Thibodeau hoped for better results against his old team on Monday night. It was a valiant effort considering New York was on 0 days rest, as the Knicks outrebounded Chicago 45-40 and shot an impressive 22-26 from the line. The Bulls had 14 fast break points to just 3 for NYK, which is a sign of some tired legs.
There were some bright spots for the Knicks in the 8-point loss. Most notably, Julius Randle was dominant for a second straight game with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists. That followed up a 27/12/5 line the day before against the Clippers. Immanuel Quickley has also been a spark off the bench for Thibodeau’s team, scoring 25+ in three of the last five.
Despite the talent, the Knicks are still just 9-13 on the year which includes 5-8 on the road. The New York defense is 8th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, and can go into complete shutdown mode as evidence by holding Golden State to 104 points a couple weeks ago and Cleveland to 81 points last week. The Bulls have been held to 110 or less in three of the last four.
Can Chicago Do It Again?
The Bulls got the win and the cover on Monday behind a 30-point outburst from Lauri Markkanen. It was a much welcomed victory, as the Bulls had fallen 123-122 in heartbreaking fashion to Portland the game before and slipped up vs. Boston and the Lakers two tilts before that. It’s a rough stretch, but also some quality competition.
The Bulls had been turning the corner with a 3-game win streak and 4-straight losses all by four points or less prior to that. The February 3rd Knicks at Bulls pick is going to be a war of strategies. Chicago runs the #2 pace in the league, and New York the slowest. The Bulls also have the 4th worst defense in the NBA overall – but the Knicks the 6th worst offensive efficiency.
Chicago likes their chances even with both teams coming off a day of rest. Billy Donovan’s team got the win Monday despite ‘only’ 21 points from Zach LaVine, who had put up 25+ in 4 of 5 games prior including two 30+ point outings. The remerged Thad Young was also great with 13/8/8, his third straight game with a near triple-double.
Free January 3rd Knicks at Bulls Pick
New York played well on Monday despite hosting the Clippers the day before. Thibs enjoyed the homecoming but now the team knows it’s time to get the win. Chicago has nobody to control Randle on the interior, and the Knicks have a solid bench that will be the difference.
Knicks 107 – Bulls 103
Free Pick: Knicks +3.5