New York (8-16) at Chicago (8-15)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 10° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Thu Dec 17, 2009
  • TV: MSG, CSCH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

So far, a six-game homestand hasn’t helped the Chicago Bulls improve their play. Matchups with the New York Knicks at the United Center, though, usually help their cause.

The Bulls look to end their scoring woes and continue their home dominance against the defensively challenged Knicks on Thursday night.

Chicago (8-15) began its homestand with a 96-91 overtime win over Golden State on Friday night before losing 106-80 to Boston the next day and 96-87 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

The Bulls are averaging 88.4 points and shooting 39.7 percent over their last five home games, losing four. They’ve dropped 11 of 13 overall, scoring 90.1 points per game and making 41.8 percent of their attempts from the floor.

Chicago now gets to the face the Knicks, who allow opponents to average 106.3 points and shoot 48.4 percent.

New York (8-16) has had its own problems at the United Center, averaging 91.9 points in losing 14 of its last 16 there.

Chicago went 2-1 overall against the Knicks last season as point guard Derrick Rose(notes) averaged 19.0 points and 7.0 assists in the last two meetings.

Rose had 21 points Tuesday even though he strained a left rib in the first quarter. He went 9 of 22 from the field and is shooting 38.1 percent (24 for 63) over his last three games.

Bulls center Joakim Noah(notes) shot 4 for 16 against Los Angeles but had 20 rebounds and a season-high six blocks. He has blossomed in his third year, averaging 10.2 points and 12.1 rebounds.

Noah will likely be matched up with former Florida teammate David Lee(notes), who posts 18.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game for the Knicks.

The versatile Jared Jeffries(notes) is also becoming an important part of New York’s frontcourt rotation. He had 11 points, five rebounds, six steals and two blocks in a 94-87 loss at Charlotte on Tuesday night.

The Knicks had won four straight after putting Jeffries in the starting lineup, giving him more playing time while benching Nate Robinson(notes) each of the last six games.

“Coach (Mike D’Antoni) has put me in a position to succeed,” Jeffries said. “He’s put me in a position where I can go out and do what I do best. That’s all I’ve ever asked since I’ve been here.”

With leading scorer Al Harrington(notes) battling a virus, Jeffries’ strong game wasn’t enough to help New York extend its winning streak. Harrington was held to 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting and the Knicks were outscored 15-2 down the stretch.

Harrington, averaging 25.5 points in his last two games in Chicago and 19.8 on the season, isn’t expected to miss any time.

The Knicks continue to try and ease Eddy Curry(notes) back into the rotation. The veteran center had two points and one rebound in 6 minutes Tuesday in his second game after missing the previous eight to rest a sore knee.

New York added even more size Sunday, signing 7-foot Jonathan Bender(notes) after he was sidelined nearly four years due to troublesome knees. Bender, selected No. 5 overall by Toronto in the 1999 draft, was inactive against Charlotte and D’Antoni expects him to sit out Thursday, too.

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Thursday, Dec 17