W2W4: Knicks at Bulls

December, 8, 2012
12/08/12
12:15
PM ET
If you're a Knicks fan, it's hard to imagine a better road trip than the one the team is currently on.

It started with a J.R. Smith buzzer-beater in Charlottte. It continued with a 20-point win in Miami, one that came with Carmelo Anthony on the bench.

So how will it end? On Saturday night in Chicago, against a Bulls team that's won four of five, including a balanced effort against the Pistons on Friday.

Here are a few things to watch at the United Center:

MELO'S STATUS: Anthony is a game-time decision because of a laceration on the middle finger of his left hand.

Anthony needed five stitches to sew the cut together. He tested the injury before tipoff against Miami but ultimately decided to sit.

Anthony's absence didn't really hurt the Knicks on Thursday, as they beat Miami by 20 points.

If Anthony sits again on Saturday, the Knicks will rely on Ray Felton (27 points vs. Miami), J.R. Smith, Steve Novak and others for offense.

Of note: Chicago is much stronger defensively than Miami, which ranks 23rd in defensive efficiency (a measure of points per 100 possessions). The Bulls have the top-ranked defense in terms of defensive efficiency in the NBA.

BIG DAY FOR RAY? If Derrick Rose were healthy, the point guard matchup would be one to watch in this game.

With Rose out, the Knicks appear to have an advantage because Felton has been red hot of late while playing through a painful left hand injury.

He had a season-high 27 points and hit six of 10 3s against the Heat to go along with seven assists against three turnovers.

Felton's averaging 22.3 points and 7.7 assists while hitting 11 of 24 from beyond the arc over the past three games -- all Knicks wins. Throw in Jason Kidd and you have to think the Knicks will be able control the pace and move the ball well against Chicago counterparts Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson.

BOARD GAMES: Tyson Chandler's been rebounding the ball at a great clip of late, averaging 14.5 rebounds in his past five games. But he may have his hands full against Chicago's Joakim Noah.

Noah is coming off of a monster 30-point, 23-rebound effort against Detroit. Both were career highs for Noah, who is averaging 10.8 rebounds per game.

Overall, New York ranks 27th in rebound rate (a percentage of missed shots a team rebounds) while Chicago is third.

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
23.4 3.3 0.8 36.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.4
AssistsJ. Calderon 3.9
StealsP. Prigioni 1.3
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.3