The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks tip off Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m. from Chicago in what could be a playoff-preview of a first round Eastern Conference matchup.
The Knicks are currently 29-27, good enough for seventh in the Eastern Conference but they have won three of their last four and seven of their last 10. The Bulls are clinging to first place in the East with a 43-14 record, two up on Miami but they have lost three of their last four, but they did that without Derrick Rose who has been out with a groin injury.
The teams met on Sunday at Madison Square Garden in what turned out to be a magical performance from Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks star hit a three-point shot from the right wing at the end of regulation to push the game to overtime then hit another from the same spot with seconds left in overtime to give the Knicks the 100-99 win.
The Knicks led by 21 points at halftime, but Rose scored 22 points in the second half to help the Bulls roar back into the game. Anthony led all scorers with 43 points on a depleted Knicks team that is was without Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire due to injury.
Stoudemire participated in a Tuesday shootaround, but is not expected to play.
The Knicks may need another spectacular performance from Anthony as well as a great defensive effort from Knicks point guard Iman Shumpert, who is expected to guard Rose.
However, Rose will be a game-time decision for the Bulls after tweaking his ankle on Sunday against the Knicks. The reigning MVP is the key to the Bulls attack and his presence, or lack thereof, will be a major factor in the outcome of tonight's game.
Where to watch: The game can be viewed online at http://nbaliveonline.com/streaming/. It will also be broadcast nationally on ESPN at 9:30 PM ET.
Odds: The Bulls are seven point favorites.
Vegasinsider.com lists the Knicks as seven point underdogs in tonight's matchup. The line started there and moved as low as nine for the Knicks thanks to heavy early action on the Bulls. Action reversed at nine and brought the line back to seven.
Prediction: Bulls will have something to prove on their home floor. Expect the Bulls to get a better scoring effort from their bench, and to do a better job of containing Anthony.
Predicted score: Chicago over New York, 100 - 88