Bulls resume long trek in MSG against Knicks

The Chicago Bulls have been struggling with consistency lately and look to gain a measure of balance tonight in a showdown with the New York Knicks from Madison Square Garden.

The Bulls, who are in the midst of a nine-game road trip, have alternated wins and losses over their previous six games and are 1-2 so far on the trek following last night's 98-82 loss at Philadelphia in which reigning MVP Derrick Rose posted 18 points and sat out much of the fourth quarter. C.J. Watson netted a game-best 20 points, while Kyle Korver, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson posted nine points apiece in defeat.

"They play hard. They play unselfishly. They don't make mistakes, so you need to be sharp," Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau said of the Sixers.

Rose entered the game averaging 34.3 points in his previous three. Chicago gave up 29 points on 17 turnovers and dropped to 9-5 outside the United Center this season. It will also visit the Bucks, Nets, Hornets, Bobcats and Celtics on the trek, and owns a 1 1/2-game lead over Indiana for Central Division supremacy.

The Bulls were without forward Luol Deng (wrist) and guard Richard Hamilton (groin/thigh) last night. Both are questionable against the Knicks.

New York has been a disappointment this season as evidenced by its 8-13 record, but was able to hand Detroit a lopsided 113-86 loss the last time out on Tuesday at MSG. Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points in his return to the lineup and had missed two straight games because of a serious of bumps and bruises.

Landry Fields had 18 points and hit four three-pointers for the Knicks, who had lost three straight and nine of 10 coming in. They shot 60 percent on the night.

"The ball movement was great tonight," said Knicks center Tyson Chandler, who recorded 17 points and eight rebounds. "Our energy, our willingness to pass, we just found the open man and it became contagious."

Amare Stoudemire added 15 points for a New York team in the midst of playing two straight and four of five games at home. The Knicks are 4-6 as the host and will visit Boston before returning home to play the Nets and Jazz. They will play three straight games starting tonight for the first time since March 20-22, 1999.

New York and Chicago will play the first of four matchups this season, and the Knicks took two of three meetings a year ago.