KNICKERBOCKERS VS BULLS
These two sides have played each other every year since the Bulls joined the NBA in 1966. That’s when the first seeds of the Knicks vs Bulls rivalry were sown.
It came down largely to who had the bragging rights between the two biggest cities in the Eastern USA.
THE BIG APPLE VS THE WINDY CITY
So, a city named after the cash prizes you could win betting on horse racing (just look it up) vs one named after being a bit breezy, or having a population of hot air-filled show-offs (depending on which version you believe)
Everyone always wants to take down the best. Naturally, the Chicago Bulls had a lot of bitter rivals during their glory years.
The New York Knickerbockers climbed up that list as time went on.
The rivalry heightened in intensity from the period around the late 1980s until the mid-1990s when it became arguably the best NBA rivalry of the decade, something that continues to this day through the NBA Rivalry between the Knicks and the Bulls.
UNLESS YOU WERE A KNICKERBOCKERS-LOVER, IN WHICH CASE IT MUST HAVE BEEN A LIVING NIGHTMARE…
There were several factors that contributed to the increasing dislike that the players and fans felt for each other.
They played each other a lot more frequently than they had done before, and many of the games were high-stakes affairs as both teams became consistent playoff contenders.
In fact, they met each other at the playoffs in six of the eight years during that period.
The Bulls were triumphant in five of those series.
In the early 1990s, the New York Knickerbockers adopted the mindset championed by the so-called ‘Bad Boy Pistons’ from Detroit.
That was to build a big, physically strong team and encourage them to be extremely aggressive in place of any superior skill over their opponents.
This only served to exacerbate the tensions between the fans and was an exceptionally successful tactic for them.
BUT NOT AGAINST THE CHICAGO BULLS
This was the Jordan era.
He scored 50+ points against them on no less than four occasions! Including 55 at Madison Square Garden, which had to sting. This helped the Bulls to knock them out of the playoffs 5 times between 1989 and 1996.
It’s not easy to overstate the levels of antagonism that were rife within that Bulls v Knickerbockers rivalry at the time.
The physical nature of the play only made it more intense, especially in the playoffs.
THE FANS WERE DRAWN TO THE GAMES LIKE MOTHS TO THE FLAMES
The only time that the Knicks defeated the Chicago Bulls in any of the playoffs was in 1994 when Jordan was off playing baseball.
The Knickerbockers never beat the Bulls in a series where both teams were at full strength.
From March 2016 until April 2017, the Knickerbockers won 5 straight games against the Bulls. That was the first time since the period from February 1969 to January 1970, when they had an impressive 7-game winning streak.
Since the Bulls ended that streak in 2017, things have been a lot tighter and the pair have gone 8-8.
We have to go back to Jan 14th, 2003 for the last time these 2 teams were tied for the number of wins (85-85). And a year further for the last time the Knicks led.
The Bulls and the Knickerbockers have played each other a total of 238 times, with the Bulls winning 126 and the Knickerbockers winning 112
With a decent enough run against them, the Knickerbockers could pull back that deficit reasonably quickly.
Let’s take a look at both teams’ recent stats. See if we feel there’s a chance that they can do so.
THE CHICAGO BULLS
NBA Championship odds = 31.00
NBA Eastern Conference odds = 13.00
THE NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS
NBA Championship odds = 81.00
NBA Eastern Conference odds = 36.00
As you can see, the online sportsbooks give the Knickerbockers almost no chance of winning either the Eastern Conference or the NBA. When we look at their stats it’s not overly surprising.
The only area we can find where the Knickerbockers are significantly more successful than the Bulls is in preventing their opponent from blocking the ball.
The Bulls were blocked an average of 5.7 times per game.
The Knickerbockers only 4.7
This is one of those stats that we might find interesting and agree that, when combined with lots of others, it plays its part in the overall picture of things.
The problem is that, if one team allows their opponents to block them once more per game than another then it simply can’t make that much difference.
It is an interesting (really?) aside and nothing more.
Compare it to the fact that the New York Knicks have allowed their opponents to score an average of 107.3 points per game so far this season, whilst only scoring 105.5 themselves and it starts to put things into context a little more.
The Chicago Bulls aren’t exactly setting the world on fire there either, with 108.3 points per game themselves, and 105.7 for their opponents, but at least they are in the black!
CUTTING TO THE CHASE:
KNICKERBOCKERS VS BULLS
Well folks, here’s the thing.
This article is ostensibly about the decades-long rivalry between two proud sides, but at the moment they need to forget about that and focus on the situations they find themselves in.
Neither of these teams is likely to come away from this season with any real level of success.
The bookmakers believe that, when it comes to Knickerbockers vs Bulls, the Bulls have a better chance of winning.
Our interpretations of the statistics certainly back that up.
BUT IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN
They are in the much better position of the two, but not one that they need to sing and dance about just yet.
A team with such a rich heritage and history of success is not being particularly well-represented right now. They need to pull it back together and focus.
NEW YORK VS CHICAGO
The New York Knickerbockers are currently bottom of the Atlantic Division and 12th from 15 in the Eastern Conference.
It will be interesting to see how things pan out when the 2 teams meet and we can witness that sweet New York vs Chicago rivalry action again. But whatever happens, there is no way back from there. Even at this early stage of the season and they need to have a long, hard look at themselves.
Preferably all wearing those ridiculous pantaloons that they’re named after…