Tuesday NBA: Amare Stoudemire out as Knicks host Bulls
Despite the fact the Chicago Bulls have wrapped up the top seed in the Eastern Conference, Coach Tom Thibodeau apparently wants his team to stay focused and won’t sit any starters despite the fact that tonight’s game against the Knicks is essentially meaningless. The Bulls are 7.5-point favorites on WagerWeb.com. Plus the Bulls are still trying to catch the Spurs for the league’s best record and home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Bulls star Derrick Rose has a head cold but said he wouldn’t ask for any minutes off. Plus Thibodeau wants to prove a point. The Knicks are the only team the Bulls haven’t beaten this season, and they lost the season series for the first time since 2000-01. This is the Bulls’ first look at the new-look Knicks, who have won seven straight.
This will be Carmelo Anthony’s first game with New York against Chicago, and the Bulls expect to finally be at full strength. Carlos Boozer sat out the first meeting, a 120-112 home loss Nov. 4, and Joakim Noah was sidelined in a 103-95 defeat at MSG on Dec. 25. Anthony won his second straight Player of the Week Award on Monday coming off his game-winning shot and block in Indiana. Anthony led the Knicks to a 4-0 week, averaging 28.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and shooting 53 percent from 3-point range.
These two haven’t met since Amare Stoudemire’s 20 points and 10 rebounds led the Knicks to that Christmas Day victory. But the Bulls don’t have to worry about Stoudemire. He is out tonight and almost assuredly in the regular-season finale vs. Boston on Wednesday.
Stoudemire, who’s missed the previous two games because of a sprained left ankle, wants to be 100 percent when he does play and that takes priority over his desire to regain some rhythm before the start of the Knicks’ first-round series against the Celtics. Coach Mike D’Antoni said he expects to be ready for Game 1 which, although not officially announced, is likely to be played Sunday in Boston.