Here are the three keys to Friday's game against the Bulls.
- Win the Rebounding Battle on Both Ends- One of the big reasons why the Bulls have been so good offensively is their propensity to attack the offensive glass starting with Taj Gibson and ex-Knick Robin Lopez. The Bulls are third in the NBA in offensive rebounds at 14.8 per game. Interestingly, they are only 20th in overall rebounds, meaning the Knicks should be able to expose that and it would seem as if the team that achieves the most second-chance points will have a great chance in winning the game.
- Fast start in the 1st Quarter- The Bulls are fifth in the NBA in points in the first quarter (29.2) while the Knicks sit 18th in the league (26.0) per teamrankings.com. The Bulls are fourth in first quarter margins at plus-5.2. The Knicks have started slow in their three losses allowing 28, 32 and 33 first quarter points, respectively, and overall they trail on average after the 1st quarter by two points. A fast start will be imperative for the Knicks in order to keep the raucous Chicago crowd out of it.
- Points in the Paint- The Knicks are 24th in the NBA in points in the paint at 39 per game, 6.5 points behind the Bulls who rank 12th at 45.5 points per contest. As much as the game could be decided on the offensive glass, the Knicks need to make sure the points in the paint battle is, at worst, a wash.