Knicks-Bulls Preview

The Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks got the best of Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls over the weekend, pulling out a thrilling win in front of a nationally televised audience.

The Bulls won't have to wait too long for a chance at revenge.

NBA-leading Chicago looks to continue its home domination of New York as these Eastern Conference rivals square off again Tuesday night at the United Center.

After taking an early 21-point lead Sunday at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks (29-27) found themselves down by 10 with under four minutes to play before Anthony came through. Rose and Luol Deng missed four potentially game-sealing free throws to open the door for Anthony, who made a game-tying 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining in regulation before hitting the game-winning 3 with 8 seconds left in overtime in Sunday's 100-99 win.

Anthony finished with a season-high 43 points on 16-of-31 shooting, making 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.

"This was a playoff game. We have a chance, we might play these guys in the playoffs if we keep doing what we're doing and get that seed, so this was a big statement game for us and we willed this one," said Anthony, who has averaged 31.2 points on 49.1 percent shooting over the last five games.

Rose, meanwhile, scored 29 points but went 8 for 26 in his first game back after missing 12 due to a strained right groin. The league's reigning MVP committed a season-high eight turnovers and missed two potential game-winning shots.

"I didn't think of (my groin)," Rose told the team's official website. "I'm not worried about it. My thing is just trying to get better. Defensively, we weren't there. Hopefully next time we play them we come out with a sense of urgency."

The Bulls (43-14) seemed to be caught off guard by the Knicks' improved defense, missing 11 of their first 12 shots and committing a handful of early miscues. They finished with 19 turnovers and forced just nine.

"We should be able to overcome all of that stuff," said coach Tom Thibodeau, who had his starting five together for only the 11th time this season. "You just have to do the right things. We do the right things, you're not going to have those problems. You're not going to have those turnovers. Simple plays: Protect the ball, keep the ball moving, quick decisions, hit the first open man, sustain your spacing, protect the ball, tuck it on the catch, fight for your space, get your space. Simple."

New York has surrendered just 88.6 points per contest in winning 11 of 14 since coach Mike Woodson took over. The Bulls have averaged just 90.8 in dropping three of four - their worst stretch of the season.

Chicago took the first two matchups in this season's series by a combined eight points - including a 104-99 home win March 12 behind 32 points from Rose. The Bulls have had their way with the Knicks on their own court, taking 17 of 20 matchups.

While Chicago is trying to hold on to the league's top record, New York sits in a seventh-place tie with Philadelphia for the final two postseason berths in the East - with ninth-place Milwaukee looming right behind. The Knicks conclude this two-game road swing with another crucial matchup Wednesday against the Bucks.

"(Sunday was) big for us as a team," said rookie guard Iman Shumpert, who had 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals. "One game at a time, we gotta chip away. Milwaukee's right behind us, we're just trying to keep moving up."

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