Only a handful of teams have been able to slow down the New York Knicks in the 2012-2013 season. The Chicago Bulls are one of those clubs, and will look to beat the Knicks a second time on Friday night.
On Dec.8, the second-best defensive team in the NBA never allowed New York to get into an offensive rhythm. The Knicks scored just 85 points in the eight-point loss. With the team unable to get many good looks at the basket, Raymond Felton forced up 30 shots, hitting just nine.
Unlike last time, the Bulls will have to deal with Carmelo Anthony. He missed the previous meeting with a finger injury.
This will be Anthony’s second game back from a sprained ankle. He showed no ill effects in his return against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. He scored 31 points in the 14-point victory.
When Anthony’s been able to stay on the court, he’s been one of the best players in the NBA. He’s scored at least 30 points in his last four games, all resulting in Knick wins. Along with Kevin Durant and LeBron James, he’s an early candidate to be named the league MVP.
Chicago also held sharpshooter Steve Novak in check in the last game between the two teams. He had just four shot attempts in the loss. Novak missed New York’s last game with flu-like symptoms, but is expected to be ready on Friday night.
While the Knicks best player has missed four games, the Bulls top star hasn’t played at all. Chicago has played well enough to be in first place, without Derrick Rose. He tore his ACL in last season’s playoffs, and is not close to getting back on the court.
Joakim Noah and Luol Deng have stepped up in Rose’s absence. They lead the league in minutes per game, with 40.2 and 41, respectively.
Noah is putting up career bests in points, assists and blocks. He registered a triple-double in the Bulls last game against the Boston Celtics.
Despite the result in the last time two teams played, the Knicks are six-point favorites. They have the best home record in the NBA, losing just one game at Madison Square Garden.
You can watch the Knicks vs. the Bulls live on NBA TV at 7:30 p.m. ET. A live stream online is not available with NBA League Pass Broadband, because nationally televised games are blackedout.
Prediction: The Bulls are one of the league’s top defensive team, but things should be different this time around with Anthony on the court. He should draw plenty of double-teams, giving Novak and J.R. Smith multiple opportunities to knock down open threes. Chicago’s defense will keep the game close, but they don’t have enough fire-power to keep up with New York.
Predicted Score: New York 97, Chicago 89