- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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"I really don't know," Rose said before Friday's practice. "I hope so. I think we don't have a rivalry yet, but this team right here that they have… they have a good team. A good, young team, where if this does become a rival, it will be going on for a long time."
The Knicks already knocked off the Bulls once this season on the strength of 16 three-pointers, and Rose knows that his team can't allow that to happen again if they want to pick up a Christmas Day victory.
"We're going to be looking for our defense to win the game, where we're going to try and get a lot of stops," Rose said. "Try to get out and run. I think if we jump on them, that it could set the tone for the game. Especially an early game like that. So that's what we're going to try to do."
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau knows that will be a challenge.
"They've been terrific all season," he said of the Knicks. "I think the addition of [Raymond] Felton and [Amare] Stoudemire certainly changed them. And they've always been a very talented team offensively. Of course, Amare gives them a post presence. And his skill set is very unique. He's got power and quickness. He can post, he can face up, he can drive and he's a knock down shooter, so he's a hard guy to guard."
If the Bulls are going to pick up a win, Thibodeau and his players know that it comes down to stopping Stoudemire.
"It's going to be tough," Bulls forward Kurt Thomas said. "He's playing at a very high level right now. He can do so much out there. He can definitely get up and down the floor. He plays above the rim. He can shoot the ball, he can shoot the three. He can do many things out there. The only thing that's going to help me is that I was his teammate for two years so I know his game a little bit, so that should definitely help me."
The last word: Bulls forward Taj Gibson, a New York native, on playing in Madison Square Garden on Christmas:
"It's very special. This is a dream come true. Hopefully we can get a win and it will be even better."
Bulls-Knicks isn't the rivalry it once was, but it could be in the near future.