NBA Predictions and Best Bets: Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks

NBA expert Jonathan Macri is here with his prediction and picks for the Thursday night matchup between the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks.
Jonathan Macri
Thu, October 28, 7:22 AM EDT

NBA Predictions and Best Bets: Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks

When: Thursday, October 28, 8:00 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: NBA TV

Spread: Bulls -1.5

Total: 215

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Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks Prediction

The year was 1993. Janet Jackson was on top of the charts with That’s The Way Love Goes, Seinfeld was starting to dominate primetime television, and a little movie called Jurassic Park made us all believe that dinosaurs were real. The Tyrannosaurus Rex of the NBA, of course, was a fellow by the name of Michael Jordan, who was in the process of bringing the city of Chicago its third straight NBA title. The team he beat en route to those Finals, along with Jordan’s Bulls, comprised the best rivalry in the NBA at that time and maybe the top rivalry of the decade. The New York Knicks, led by Patrick Ewing and a never-quite-good-enough supporting cast, would finally get over the hump against those Bulls a year later, but with the GOAT hacking away in Alabama. Jordan would return, the Knicks and Bulls would face off one last time in the playoffs (another Chicago win), and the two teams would close out the decade with more of the success they had become accustomed to: the Bulls going all the way, and the Knicks coming up just short.
For New York, even though they could never bring home the title during Ewing’s run in the Big Apple, that era has come to represent an unattainable nirvana in light of what has come since. Other than one blip on the radar in 2013, the Knicks had two decades of mostly winless basketball.

That finally changed last season when former Knick assistant Tom Thibodeau came back to the team he grew up rooting for and completely revamped the level of competence and culture within a previously lost franchise. How has he done it? Like his former boss, Doc Rivers put it after his Sixers were thoroughly dominated in MSG on Tuesday night, “It was the Knicks. It was just physicality.”

Before Thibs came home to his dream job, that physicality was one of the defining features of New York’s old rival during their only stretch of sustained success since Jordan walked out of town. Along with current Knicks Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah – the former Bull and Knick who is being honored during Thursday night’s nationally televised affair – those Chicago teams were a lot like the Knicks of the ’90s: right there, but ultimately coming up just short, often at the hands of the best player in the sport.
LeBron James now plays in LA, and the East he once dominated, while not quite up for grabs as Brooklyn and Milwaukee are still heavy favorites despite their struggles, is ready for a team to jump up out of the fray and grab ahold of a top seed. It’s early in the season, but so far, the Knicks and Bulls are the two teams fighting hardest for that designation.

This figures to be a war. New York came out flat on Sunday night against the Magic in losing their first game of the season but responded with a supreme effort against the Sixers on a night they once led by 27 points. Moreover, they’re doing it in a way that was once thought of as impossible for a Thibodeau-coached team: by firing away at a record pace from behind the arc. The 46 3-point attempts the Knicks are currently averaging would be a new NBA record, but these aren’t careless chucks. The Knicks are working defenses with dribble penetration courtesy of new additions Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, not to mention former league MVP, Derrick Rose.

Rose will be riding back into Chicago on arguably his highest horse since the franchise traded him to the Knicks in 2016. He brings with him the best plus/minus of any player in the league, and New York’s attack becomes unstoppable when he’s running the show. Against a thin and untested Bulls bench unit that has yet to face even a halfway decent offense, that’s one place the Knicks will have a distinct advantage.

The other place might be in the starting lineup with a finally fully healthy Mitchell Robinson. Big Meech got noticeably bulkier in the offseason and is dominating the paint on defense, even stifling the likes of Joel Embiid. Stretch fives have given him issues in the past, though, so Nikola Vucevic – a regular Knick killer in Orlando - will be a solid test, as will Zach LaVine. However, it bears watching how the reported torn ligament in his non-shooting hand will affect him.

This game is going to be close, and motivation won’t be lacking for either team. Besides Thibodeau having his team fired up to face the organization that once fired him and Rose looking to put on a show in front of Noah & Company, the Bulls have two players in DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, who the Knicks were reportedly interested in over the summer. Each has looked at home in Chicago and will give New York’s defense the toughest test it has had yet.

The Knicks have had some issues holding leads this season, but this one should be tight throughout. Having Rose in blue and orange in his old building may prove the difference. While New York’s execution in tight moments hasn’t been perfect, the Bulls have been arguably worse against inferior competition.
In a game that should come down to the last possession, take the points. Tom Thibodeau doesn’t smile much, but he’ll be grinning after this one, perhaps ushering in a new era of this once great rivalry. It’s been a long time coming.

Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks Pick

Jonathan Macri
JCMacriNBA
Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball than Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.
Jun 2021
Record
Wins
8
Losses
7
Push
0
ROI
3.35%
0Betslip

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