Chicago (42-32) at New York (29-45)

Fair Currently: Las Vegas, NV
Temp: 84° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EDT Fri Apr 8, 2005
  • TV: CSCH, MSG
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Ben Gordon is fast becoming a nemesis of the New York Knicks.

The rookie reserve from Mount Vernon, N.Y., will look to continue his late-game heroics against the Knicks as the surging Chicago Bulls visit Madison Square Garden.

Gordon averaged 16.5 points in helping the Bulls take their first two meetings from New York this season. In an 86-84 home win on Jan. 15, the former Connecticut star scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.

The 6-foot-3 shooting guard also dropped 13 of his 17 points in the final 12 minutes of an 88-86 victory over the Knicks on Jan. 17. Gordon hit the winning basket on a slicing drive through the key, lofting the shot over the outstretched arm of New York’s Michael Sweetney.

Gordon, a Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man award candidate, is one of the reasons the Bulls have the best record (33-15) in the NBA since Jan. 1.

After averaging 7.9 points during Chicago’s 0-7 start, Gordon has averaged 15.8 per game.

The Bulls have won 10 of their last 11 games, including a 102-101 overtime victory at Orlando on Thursday. Chicago was without leading scorer Eddy Curry because of an irregular heartbeat. The Bulls are 3-1 without him.

Kirk Hinrich scored 25 points and Tyson Chandler added 15 and 22 rebounds for the Bulls, who need two more victories to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since the 1997-98 season.

The Bulls are a game ahead of Washington for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The top four teams in each conference will have home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Knicks have lost a season-high eight straight, including Friday’s 110-98 defeat at New Jersey. Tim Thomas, the Knicks’ third-leading scorer at 12.3 points per game, sat out the second half with a sore left knee.

Stephon Marbury led New York with 30 points, and Jamal Crawford added 26.

The loss pushed the Knicks to the brink of playoff elimination. A win by Philadelphia or a loss by the Knicks will end New York’s postseason hopes.

“We can’t come out flat at the beginning and expect to win games,” said Marbury, who is averaging 25 points and 8.5 assists against the Bulls.

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