The Bulls hope for more of the same from their All-Star guard as they try to complete a home-and-home sweep of the struggling Knicks on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Still sore from a hard foul by Orlando’s Dwight Howard(notes) last Wednesday and coming off 15 minutes of play in his first All-Star game Sunday, Rose scored 29 points in Chicago’s 118-85 home rout of New York on Tuesday.
The reigning NBA rookie of the year says he’ll likely have to deal with lingering effects of the injury for a bit longer, but is confident it won’t hinder his play during a stretch of four games in five days.
“A bruise is going to heal each day, so it’s nothing that I should worry about,” said Rose, who’s averaging 19.8 points and 5.7 assists while playing all 52 games this season. “Tomorrow, it should feel even better than today.”
Rose showed little signs of being injured, making 14 of 18 shots, including his first nine. The Bulls (26-26) shot a season-high 60.5 percent while winning for the third time in four games.
“When he’s hitting that jump shot, he’s especially tough to handle,” New York forward David Lee(notes) said of Rose, who’s averaged 24.3 points on 57.9 percent shooting in three games against the Knicks this season. “He’s so strong. When he starts going to the basket, he’s so good finishing. He’s one of the best finishers as far as guards are concerned in the league.”
Rose scored 26 in the Bulls’ 88-81 loss at New York on Dec. 22. Joakim Noah(notes) had 10 with 21 rebounds in that contest, but could miss his sixth straight game with plantar fasciitis in his left foot as the Bulls begin a two-game road trip that concludes Friday at Minnesota.
“We’ll see if we’re going to take him on the trip,” Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. “If not, we’ll keep him here and get some therapy and we’ll re-evaluate him on Saturday when we get back.”
Though the Knicks (19-33) have won two in a row and four of five at home over Chicago, they’ve lost four straight and 13 of 17 overall. New York shot 34.6 percent, was blocked nine times and outrebounded 49-38 in Tuesday’s defeat.
“They just overwhelmed us physically,” New York coach Mike D’Antoni said.
While Chicago looks to remain in playoff position in the Eastern Conference, New York may be focused on trying to salvage something in the final two months of another disappointing season. Both teams could have a different look after Thursday’s trade deadline.
Coming off his first All-Star appearance, Lee had 24 points with 12 rebounds Tuesday for the Knicks, who’ve given up an average of 110.9 points while losing nine of their last 11.
Lee is averaging 23.8 points with 11.0 boards in his last five games. He has totaled 42 points and 33 rebounds in his last two contests against the Bulls.