Carmelo Anthony is back from his one-game suspension and will try to help the New York Knicks avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season Friday night versus the Chicago Bulls.
Anthony was suspended for one game without pay by the NBA for confronting Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett following Monday's 102-96 loss at Madison Square Garden. The incident occurred in the arena tunnel, near the players' locker rooms, and in the parking garage.
Second in the NBA with 29.0 ppg, Anthony is averaging 32 points per game in his last four games played and missed Thursday's 81-76 loss at Indiana. J.R. Smith scored a game-high 25 points, while Tyson Chandler added 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Knicks, who have dropped two in a row and four of six games. They still have a comfortable three-game lead the Atlantic Division.
"We're shorthanded ... but the effort was great," Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said. "When you give yourself a chance on the road, that's where you need to be as a ballclub."
New York is eighth in the league with 101.5 ppg and shot just 34.8 percent for the game against the Pacers. The Pacers scored 19 points on 13 turnovers.
Knicks center Marcus Camby left Thursday's game with a sore left foot and could miss tonight's opener of a two-game homestand. The Knicks will also host New Orleans on Sunday and are 13-4 at MSG.
Chicago had won three straight and four of five games until a 104-96 setback to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.
Still without former MVP point guard Derrick Rose (knee), the Bulls were led by forward Carlos Boozer's 22 points and 11 rebounds. Former Knick Nate Robinson netted 19 points, Luol Deng had 18 and Joakim Noah ended with eight points and 12 boards in a losing effort.
"We had a good edge to start the game then we started trading buckets," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "They picked up steam and started causing turnovers and those 15 blocked shots were big."
Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich missed the Milwaukee game due to a cut on his right elbow and is questionable Friday. He's averaging just 6.8 points, but has dished out 5.5 assists per game.
After the Bulls visit New York, they will play two straight and six of eight games on their home floor. Chicago is 9-5 away from the United Center.
Chicago is 2-0 against the Knicks this season and 10-4 in the past 14 matchups between the two clubs.