Bulls-Knicks Preview

Few teams have been more disappointing than the New York Knicks

and Chicago Bulls. The rough start could have much more dire

consequences for the Knicks, however, with coach Mike Woodson’s job

possibly hanging in the balance.

New York will try to end a six-game skid against Chicago on

Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks figured to be an Eastern Conference contender again

after a second-place finish in 2012-13, while the Bulls looked

poised to improve on last season’s fifth seed with Derrick Rose

back in the mix.

Reality hasn’t quite met up with expectations, with New York

(5-15) sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and Chicago

(8-11) sliding down the standings, again likely without Rose for

the season following another knee injury.

The Knicks lost 109-94 at Cleveland on Tuesday for their 11th

defeat in 13 games. They trailed by three at halftime before being

outscored 33-20 in the third quarter.

New York’s 41-point home loss to Boston two days earlier, which

seemed to call Woodson’s job security into question, didn’t seem to

light any sort of fire under the Knicks.

“We’ve got to help him (Woodson) figure it out,” Carmelo Anthony

said after scoring 29 points Tuesday. “He’s not going to do it by

himself. We’ve got to help each other figure this out.”

The Celtics and Cavaliers, two of the league’s lesser offensive

teams, combined to shoot 55.5 percent against New York – 52.3 from

3-point range.

The Knicks’ five free-throw attempts against the Cavaliers

matched the second-lowest total in the league this season.

“I don’t have the answer to what we have to do,” Anthony said.

“You can’t coach or you can’t teach energy. The losing is becoming

unacceptable. Hopefully, everybody feels like that. I can’t be the

only one who is feeling like that.”

New York fell 82-81 at Chicago on Oct. 31 with Rose hitting the

go-ahead jumper with six seconds left. The Knicks shot 36.0 percent

and have been held to 40.8 percent shooting during a 1-9 stretch in

the series. They also have a minus-8.9 rebounding margin during

those games.

Anthony had 22 points, six assists and a career-high six steals

but was 8 of 24 from the field in the first meeting. He’s averaging

31.5 points over his last four games against Chicago despite

shooting 39.1 percent.

Perhaps the Knicks can take advantage of a Bulls teams ravaged

by injuries. They were without four opening-night starters in

Tuesday’s 78-74 home loss to Milwaukee, their eighth in 10

games.

Joakim Noah was sidelined with a bruised right thigh, though

coach Tom Thibodeau thinks he has a chance to play Wednesday. Luol

Deng’s status is unclear after he sat out with left calf tightness,

while Jimmy Butler (turf toe) and Rose remain out.

Thibodeau didn’t feel the eight-man rotation was a valid excuse.

The Bucks, who had lost three of four, were limited to using nine

players due to injuries.

“It doesn’t matter,” Thibodeau said. “Everyone who’s called upon

is capable of doing their job.”

Woodson hopes to have Kenyon Martin back after he missed his

second straight game due to an ankle injury.