New York Knicks in a Great State of Mind as MSG Prepares for the Chicago Bulls

Michael Nargi@NargOnSportsSenior Analyst IFebruary 1, 2012

Carmelo Anthony returned to the court and scored 25 points in New York's win Tuesday night.
Carmelo Anthony returned to the court and scored 25 points in New York's win Tuesday night.Chris Trotman/Getty Images

A win is a win, no matter who it comes against.

The New York Knicks took care of the Detroit Pistons in an impressive fashion on Tuesday night. It was their first game at the Garden since January 21.

They took advantage of an opportunity to get on track against a bad team before they welcome the Chicago Bulls to MSG on Thursday night.

This was an increasingly important game for the Knicks with the mounting pressure on Mike D'Antoni. Not to mention, the Knicks returned home losers of nine of their last 10 games.

Madison Square Garden was not going to respond well if they lost to Detroit.

Carmelo Anthony returned to the court and helped spark the team. He finished with 25 points and six assists. The entire team played well on Tuesday night.

Landry Fields had a fantastic first half, scoring 16 points—but only added two points after halftime. Tyson Chandler scored 17 and had eight rebounds.

Although the win came against a bad team, it was exactly what they needed after all of their struggles over the last two weeks.

Just as important, it allows for the Knicks to focus on the Bulls and take a break from the negativity that has been surrounding the team. They will have a challenging task of controlling reigning MVP Derrick Rose at MSG on Thursday night.

This win might have enabled them to bring some momentum into the game in hopes of beating the Bulls. They will need everything they can get going into the matchup against Chicago.

Derrick Rose will look to continue his stellar season against the Knicks on Thursday night.
Derrick Rose will look to continue his stellar season against the Knicks on Thursday night.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Bulls have the best record in the NBA. Going into action on Wednesday, Chicago is first in the league with 45 rebounds per game, fifth in assists per game and second in points allowed per game.

In addition, MVP point guard Derrick Rose is averaging over 23 points per game and almost eight assists per game. It will be imperative that the Knicks limit the damage that Rose inflicts.

As for New York's point guards, Iman Shumpert, Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby have been inconsistent. New York's best option has been Shumpert. He plays great defense, but is not always reliable on offense. Also, many fans have voiced that Jeremy Lin should see more playing time or even start.

Baron Davis is still in the Knicks' plans—likely starting next week. It is unknown how many minutes he will be able to handle and how effective he will be when he returns.

If he has anything left, he will be important to this team in the second half of the season. If not, then D'Antoni might have to continue to mix and match at the position.

Against the Bulls, the Knicks will need to break through on one of the best defensive squads in the game. Along with limiting the points that are scored against them, Chicago ranks fourth in the league in blocks. They are a balanced defensive team that the Knicks might have trouble with.

If the Knicks are able to execute the way they did on Tuesday, then they stand a chance against the Bulls.

The Knicks are starting to get solid play from Tyson Chandler. If he continues at his current pace, the Knicks will be a tough team to beat. He has looked impressive in the last four games.

New York is trying to prove that they are a team that is ready to make a run in the playoffs. The shortened season makes every game that much more important. 

A win against the Bulls holds further importance because it is the first of three games in three days. The Knicks will travel to Boston to face the Celtics on Friday and return back to New York to take on the New Jersey Nets on Saturday.

The Knicks hold an 8-13 record, but can drastically improve upon it with a win-streak over the next week. A win-streak now and the Knicks will look like contenders again.