CHICAGO (AP) – Following a bizarre postponement, the New York Knicks have been assured they will play their next scheduled home game.
Given their recent road results against the Chicago Bulls, the Knicks probably would love to skip forward to their return to Madison Square Garden.
Before heading back home, New York will try to win for the third time in 19 games in Chicago on Thursday night.
The Knicks (1-2) weren’t allowed to play at home against Orlando on Tuesday after debris fell into the arena during an overnight cleaning of asbestos-related materials The next day, the team received assurances from city and environmental experts that it can return to play Friday night against Washington.
Before starting a set of back-to-back home games, New York will head to the United Center, where it has dropped four straight. In the previous trip there in February, the Knicks suffered one of their worst losses of the season, 118-85.
This time, they’ll face a Bulls (2-1) team that’s gotten off to a fast start under former New York assistant Tom Thibodeau despite the loss of Carlos Boozer to a broken right hand.
“We understand that we’re a man down without Carlos and we’re trying to pick up the slack, just battle night in and night out,” power forward Taj Gibson said. “The first loss of the season to Oklahoma City really motivated us … We’ve just improved in the last couple of games.”
Chicago will also seek its third straight win after getting impressive performances from two of its stars. Luol Deng scored a career-high 40 points in Monday’s 110-98 win over Portland after Derrick Rose had 39 in a 101-91 victory against Detroit on Saturday.
“During the first two games, (Deng) didn’t shoot the ball well, but I thought he played well,” said Thibodeau, who was with the Knicks from 1996-2003. “He’s moving without the ball, he’s cutting hard, he’s making the extra pass and he’s playing really good defense.”
The Knicks, meanwhile, will try to avoid a third consecutive loss Thursday and have suffered their defeats by a combined nine points. In their previous game Saturday, they couldn’t close out Portland despite having a nine-point lead with 5 1/2 minutes remaining and fell 100-95.
Point guard Raymond Felton, one of 10 new players on this year’s roster, said he and his teammates are trying to get comfortable playing together.
“We’re still getting used to each other, still trying to get that chemistry, but things didn’t go our way,” Felton said. “It’s tough to lose a game like that.”
One of those new players, Amar’e Stoudemire, has topped 20 points just once in his first three games. Wilson Chandler, meanwhile, has scored 22 points off the bench twice this season.
Stoudemire has averaged 21.6 in his last 11 meetings with the Bulls – all while with Phoenix. Rose, meanwhile, is averaging 27.3 points and shooting 60.3 percent in his last three games against the Knicks.
Deng also chipped in 22 points per game to help the Bulls to win three of four in last season’s series.
Chicago has also prevailed in 22 of the last 31 overall meetings.
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