The Knicks have lost 21 of their last 23 games, and five of their last six to the Bulls.
Chicago was the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season, but is currently 3 1/2 games behind the Milwaukee for the eighth and final playoff spot after dropping nine of its last 14 games.
The Bulls scored a season-low 17 points in the first quarter Thursday night against Cleveland, rallied from a 25-point deficit but lost 92-91 to the Cavaliers.
Kirk Hinrich had 25 points and nine rebounds, and has 55 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists in his last two games. The Bulls have allowed 98.8 points per game in losing three of their last four.
“We have to lock in better on defense,” said Luol Deng, who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Cavaliers.
Ben Gordon added 16 points and is averaging 22.3 points while making 23-of-41 3-pointers in his last six road games.
In Chicago’s 106-104 overtime victory Jan. 18 over the Knicks, Gordon scored 32 points and hit the game-winner at the buzzer. Gordon, who also hit a buzzer-beater at Madison Square Garden last season on Martin Luther King Day, is averaging 21.8 points against New York in six career games, his highest average against any opponent.
The Knicks had their best shooting performance of the season Wednesday against Memphis, but it still wasn’t enough to avoid their fifth straight loss. New York lost 101-99 despite shooting 55.7 percent from the field and outscoring Memphis in the paint 58-26.
Steve Francis had his best game since joining the Knicks in a Feb. 22 trade with Orlando. He finished with 19 points, but missed a shot from the top of the key as time expired.
Stephon Marbury had 25 points and 13 assists on Wednesday, but has just 13 points on 4-of-20 shooting in his last two home games.
Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan and the team’s president of basketball operations Isiah Thomas attended the Memphis game. The team leaders met with the players and staff Tuesday to reaffirm their commitment to the current leadership, including coach Larry Brown and Thomas.
“I think everybody was conscious of him being here,” Francis said of Dolan. “I think he’s done a good job of letting us be ourselves. We want to win one for him. We want to also win for the fans and win one for ourselves.”