The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks used to have one of the best rivalries in the NBA, but trash basketball in recent years dimmed the hype. However, Thursday’s showdown at the United Center is going to bring the energy back to this rivalry, especially with the Bulls honoring Joakim Noah. It’s only right that we take a closer look at this matchup between the Bulls and Knicks and make some predictions.

Chicago is 4-0 to start the season and is the only undefeated team left in the Eastern Conference. New York is 3-1 after an impressive win on national television against the Philadelphia 76ers. Both of these teams made big moves in the offseason and will be bringing talented rosters to the fold on Thursday.

Bulls star Zach LaVine is questionable with a thumb injury. LaVine said he wants to play through the injury, but he knows he needs to be smart this early in the season. His status will have an impact on this game.

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Chicago Bulls predictions vs. Knicks

4. Joakim Noah will steal the show

This isn’t exactly a bold prediction, but having Noah in the house at the United Center is going to bring plenty of extra juice to this matchup. A number of former teammates are in town to celebrate Noah, and the fans are going to go wild for him. He’ll surely get plenty of TV time.

It’s also amusing that Noah is getting honored in a game against the Knicks, another one of his former teams. Noah signed a four-year, $72 million deal with New York in 2016, only for it to immediately turn into a disaster.

3. Patrick Williams finally makes his presence felt offensively

The Bulls’ second-year forward has been extremely quiet offensively to start the season. That’s no surprise given the rest of the starting lineup, but Chicago would like to see a higher usage rate than 8.6.

This will be the game Patrick Williams finally breaks out a bit. He hasn’t scored in double figures yet this season, but that will change on Thursday night.

2. Lonzo Ball outplays Derrick Rose

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The Knicks were one of the teams constantly mentioned as a top suitor for Lonzo Ball in the offseason, but the Bulls made him their top target and snagged him right at the start of free agency. It has worked out well so far, with Ball playing excellent basketball on both ends of the court. One metric even has him as the best player in the NBA after a week.

Meanwhile, Derrick Rose’s return to the United Center will only bring more electricity to this matchup. Rose is a dynamic sixth man who still gets a ton of minutes these days, and Ball will surely find himself matched up against him at times. Look for the new Bulls guard to make a statement against the old Bulls guard.

1. Zach LaVine will play and ball out in a win

LaVine isn’t going to want to miss this big Bulls game, so the prediction here is he’s going to give it a go despite the thumb injury. While he has gotten off to some sluggish starts this season, his overall numbers are still strong and he’ll be motivated to perform. The Bulls All-Star will help this game live up to the hype, though he’ll again get some assistance from DeMar DeRozan late to get Chicago to 5-0.

If LaVine doesn’t play, DeRozan will pick up the slack and the Bulls will still win.