Winning at Oklahoma City was tough. But the Knicks may face an even stiffer test Thursday against the Chicago Bulls.
New York has lost all three games to the Bulls this season and will be without its two top big men -- Kenyon Martin (ankle) and Tyson Chandler (bulging disk in neck). So if the Knicks want to extend their winning streak to 14 games, they'll have to do so shorthanded.
Tipoff is at 8 p.m. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game:
CAN MELO KEEP IT UP? Simply put, Carmelo Anthony's been the best player in the NBA during the Knicks’ 13-game winning streak. He’s scoring an NBA-high 33 points over that stretch and enters Thursday’s game riding a five-game streak of at least 35 points; no other player has scored more than 35 in three straight games this season.
But Carmelo has struggled against Chicago this season. The Bulls have several players who can defend Anthony well and they seem to have thrown him off in the team’s past two meetings (Melo missed the first game with a lacerated finger).
Anthony has shot just 42 percent from the field in two games against Chicago.
“They caught me at some bad times,” Anthony said on Tuesday.
Anthony is healthy this time around. Will that change the outcome Thursday against Chicago?
STREAK SNAPPERS? Chicago showed late last month that it isn’t intimidated by a team on a lengthy winning streak. The Bulls snapped the Miami Heat’s 27-game winning streak -- the second-longest in NBA history -- on March 27.
They’ve handled the Knicks well in the teams’ three previous meetings, leading for all 48 minutes in two games and dominating New York on the defensive end.
“It just seems like some teams have certain teams’ numbers,” Anthony said. “And it seems like the Bulls this regular season have it.
“We’ve got one more shot at it,” he added. “One more shot out there to win the basketball game and keep the streak alive and do what we’ve got to do.”
WHO REBOUNDS? If Marcus Camby is out against Chicago (he’s listed as doubtful due to a left plantar fascia ailment), the tallest player on the floor for New York could be 6-foot-10 sharpshooter Steve Novak. Yikes.
That means Chris Copeland and Carmelo likely would play extensively together on the front line. Could be a long night for those guys; Chicago ranks seventh in the NBA in rebounding rate (the percentage of missed shots a team rebounds).
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