Knicks-Bulls Preview

The New York Knicks may be without Carmelo Anthony again, so

Raymond Felton looks to continue shaking off his own injury in an

attempt to pick up the slack in his absence.

The Chicago Bulls are enjoying their best stretch of the season

and could be facing the Eastern Conference leaders at an opportune

time.

With Anthony’s status unclear, the Knicks may need another big

performance from Felton as they try to win in Chicago for only the

fourth time in over 11 years Saturday night.

A cut on the middle finger of his left hand sidelined Anthony on

Thursday in Miami, but New York (14-4) didn’t miss its superstar,

connecting on 18 3-pointers in an impressive 112-92 win.

The Knicks are on the cusp of matching their season-opening

six-game winning streak, and Felton’s recent play – especially

versus the Heat – is a major reason why.

The point guard is averaging 22.3 points and 7.7 assists while

hitting 11 of 24 from beyond the arc over the last three games.

That includes a season-high 27 points on 10 of 20 from the field –

including 6 of 10 from long range – while playing through a nagging

hand injury Thursday.

“He’s a tough kid,” coach Mike Woodson said. “It’s going to take

a lot to sit him down. I thought he was hurt. He’s got the hand,

and I thought he got hit on it. He refused to come out, and he

stood in there, stuck it out and was able to bring it home.

“You’ve got a key guy that goes down, and the other guys get an

opportunity to play and step up and make plays.”

Another strong game from Felton would surely help if Woodson

opts to sit Anthony again ahead of a home meeting with Denver – the

forward’s former team – slated for Sunday.

Felton is scoring 17.2 points per game over his last five visits

to Chicago (10-8), a venue the Knicks rarely find success.

The Bulls have won 18 of the past 21 against New York at the

United Center, including both matchups last season.

They also enter this meeting as winners of four of five after

losing four of the previous five.

Joakim Noah kept Chicago rolling Friday, posting career highs of

30 points and 23 rebounds as the team erased a 17-point,

second-quarter deficit en route to a 108-104 victory at

Detroit.

“It’s crazy to have numbers like that,” said Noah, who averaged

9.8 points and 8.3 boards in four games against the Knicks last

season.

Noah, among the league leaders with 10.8 boards this season, is

expected to get a heavy dose of Tyson Chandler in a matchup of two

of the East’s best rebounders. Chandler pulls down an average of

9.4 rebounds, and has 14.5 over the past four games.

Carlos Boozer – averaging 9.7 boards – should provide some help

for Noah on the glass. The veteran forward made his presence felt

in the scoring column Friday, getting 24 points – his

second-highest total of the season – on 12 of 19 from the

floor.

Boozer has averaged 15.7 points and 13.5 rebounds in his past

six meetings with New York since joining Chicago as a free agent

over two years ago.