Knicks seek answers when Bulls come to MSG

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( - New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson may be getting hot under the collar, but would like to see how his team performs playing with a full deck.

Woodson is hoping some key contributors return from injury soon for the Knicks, as they return home from a beating in Cleveland to host the Chicago Bulls Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

New York center Tyson Chandler is nearing a return from a broken fibula and forward Kenyon Martin hopes to get back on the floor soon because of an ankle injury.

"Hopefully Kenyon will play tomorrow (Wednesday). He's talking about playing so we'll see how he feels tomorrow," Woodson said. "Tyson is working to make his way back and hopefully I'll get a full deck and see where we are."

The Knicks could have used some muscle inside in Tuesday's 109-94 loss to Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers. Irving lit up the Knicks for 37 points on 14- of-23 shooting and handed out 11 assists.

Woodson was asked how tough it is to guard Irving.

"He's tough. One-on-one he's tough, especially when you're keeping the ball in the middle of the floor," Woodson said. "He causes havoc on anybody and tonight he was making them all over the place."

Carmelo Anthony is no slouch by any stretch of the imagination and led the Knicks once again with 29 points, making 12-of-19 from the floor. Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith led the Knicks' bench with 15 and 14 points, respectively, while Andrea Bargnani struggled to 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting. Woodson talked about Bargnani's struggles.

"He had a lot of good ones (looks). You can't tell him to stop shooting them because again he's a young man who can make shots for you," Woodson said. "He didn't have it tonight."

The Knicks, who scored 27 points on 15 Cleveland turnovers and are 2-11 in the past 13 games, made only 4-of-5 free throws and the Cavaliers went 16-of-22 from the stripe. New York is now 5-15 on the season and last in the Atlantic Division.

"This is all new to me. I've never started a season this way, 5-15," said Stoudemire. "The only way for me to deal with it is to continue to get better, stay positive, keep working hard and see what happens."

New York is 2-8 at Madison Square Garden this season. In other injury news for the Knicks, point guard Raymond Felton left Tuesday's game with a hamstring injury and had six points to go along with three assists in Cleveland. Felton is day-to-day and could rest for Wednesday's home tilt with Chicago.

The Bulls are back on the road for two straight games and went 1-3 on a recent homestand, which was culminated by Tuesday's 78-74 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center.

Mike Dunleavy led the Bulls with 24 points and Carlos Boozer added 21 and 12 rebounds. Boozer is averaging 20.3 points in his last three games for the Bulls, who shot just 37.3 percent for the game and turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 25 Milwaukee points.

"The main thing is we have to play hard and compete and grind it out," Dunleavy said. "That's a mindset thing. That's not a skill thing."

Chicago, which lost five of six games on a recent road trip, has dropped eight of 10 games overall and will also visit the Bucks on Friday with revenge in mind. The Bulls are only 2-8 outside the Windy City and hope to have forwards Luol Deng (calf/Achilles) and Joakim Noah (thigh) back soon. Deng leads the team with 19.4 ppg and has scored 20 or more points in six straight games, averaging 26.2 points in that time.

Deng is just one of three players (Kevin Durant, Kevin Love) posting averages of 19.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 4.0 apg this season.

The Bulls defeated the Knicks, 82-81, at the United Center on Oct. 31 this season and were led by Derrick Rose's 18 points. Rose, of course, is expected to miss the rest of the regular season after undergoing another knee surgery. Anthony had 22 points in that one for New York, losers in six straight, nine of 10 and 11 of the previous 14 matchups between the teams.

Chicago and New York have split the last 12 meetings at MSG and were expected to compete for one of the top seeds in the Eastern Conference.