The Knicks will try to snap their five-game losing streak against a Bulls team missing Luol Deng (wrist), Rip Hamilton (shoulder) and C.J. Watson (ankle) when they visit the United Center tonight.
The Bulls will have Joakim Noah back at center. Noah missed Saturday night's game against the Jazz with flu-like symptoms but participated in Monday's shootaround at the Berto Center. Deng, Hamilton and Watson did not participate, although it's possible Deng and Watson could return for Wednesday night's nationally televised game against Miami at the United Center.
By the way, tipoff for Wednesday night's game has been delayed until 8:30 p.m. to accommodate ESPN, which is broadcasting the game.
Jeremy Lin versus Derrick Rose will be the featured matchup in tonight's game.
"Derrick Rose steps up and loves challenges," Ronnie Brewer said. "It should be an interesting matchup."
Thibodeau has been following Linsanity since it began is worried about the Knicks offensive firepower and versatility even though they have lost five straight.
"They've had some tough games," Thibodeau said. "There's always a series of adjustments when you add players but they're a terrific team. They have a lot of weapons. They're putting a lot of points up on the board. They have a lot of guys who play multiple positions."
With Deng out, Brewer will draw the primary defensive assignment on Carmelo Anthony. Rookie Jimmy Butler could see more playing time against Anthony, as well. Butler got a taste of what it's like to guard the Knicks star when the Bulls defeated the Knicks earlier this season.
"He got some clean looks so we're going to have to do better than we did in that game," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of Butler. "They scored a lot of points. Our team defense has to be a lot better. Carmelo puts so much pressure on you because of his ability to score in transition and his ability to score in the post. He hurt us with a number of different things. He's also a very good pick-and-roll player not only when he handles but when he sets.
"They can go small, they can go big. They have a lot of versatility."