The New York Knicks registered a victory over Detroit Pistons after having lost four matches on a trot. The Knicks will be eager to win back-to-back games as they face Chicago Bulls at United Center on Friday, which is not going to any easy for the visitors.
What makes the task even more difficult for the Knicks is the Bulls' home record: They have lost only five games this season so far, and look like a strong team in front of their home fans, who support their side to the hilt.
The Bulls have been decent this season as well, and have won three of their last four matches, which has helped them remain in the top half of the conference standings. The Bulls currently lie fourth in the eastern conference.
When these two teams met last on 19 December, the Knicks played some brilliant basketball to defeat the Bulls. The visitors have to put up a similar performance if they are to come any close to defeating the home team.The Knicks' players will draw inspiration from their relatively easy 108-96 victory over the Pistons.
Though the Knicks may not have played poor basketball of late — they have scored quite fluidly — it is their defence end that has been a problem and needs to be sorted out before they face the Bulls.
"Effort is often physical, but at the highest levels of performance it is mental," Knicks coach Derek Fisher told reporters. "And so you have to make the effort and the commitment to be able to execute the right way, make the right cut, communicate the right coverage defensively."
The Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, who has been their best player, needs to lead from the front. Arron Afflalo also needs to deliver against the Bulls.
The Bulls themselves might have to play without Derrick Rose, and will need other players in their ranks to help the home team win their third straight game. In Rose's absence, Paul Gasol, who averages 16.2 points per game, will be the key player for the Bulls on Friday.
Where to watch Live
Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks NBA regular season opener is scheduled for 8 pm ET (6:30 am IST, 1 am BST, 9 am Philippines time) start. Viewers in India can watch Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks live on Sony Six.
Viewers in Philippines can watch the Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks NBA game live on Fox Sports.
International viewers, including India, can watch all the NBA live action by live streaming on NBA Online.