Bulls vs. Knicks preview: Knicks looking for payback at home and with Melo

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, nobody signed up for a game preview for this one. There are still some openings left this month if you're interested. And if you're interested in going to the actual games, use our partners if you want Chicago Bulls Tickets.

Hey, this is a pretty big game. The Knicks are currently leading the Eastern Conference with a 19-6 record, led by a suddenly more mature Carmelo Anthony, a suddenly good coach in Mike Woodson (who knew!) and a gradually aging cast of role players led by the incomparable Jason Kidd. He's like the ultimate 'glue guy' coaches dream about but ultimately can't get so they affix that label to dopes like Kirk Hinrich or something. [Hinrich shot #1]

The biggest news in Knicksville today was the (unsurprising) rumor that they've been shopping Amar'e Stoudemire as 1) his problem knees have kept him from playing this season 2) they've looked just fine without him 3) he has a Boozer-level contract (though worse in both total $ plus they've already used their amnesty)

But that's something they don't have to 'worry' (really, it's a good player coming back: it's not that bad of a thing) about until Christmas at the earliest. In the meantime, they'll still be starting Carmelo at PF, which Bulls Confidential notes is quite the pickle for Chicago:

The likely solution is to put Joakim Noah on Carmelo and Carlos Boozer on Tyson Chandler and let the perimeter players defend each other.

Another possible solution is to switch Deng on to Melo and let Boozer "guard" Ronnie Brewer by just giving him mid range shots and looking to stop back door cuts. Chicago could also try something more radical like starting in a zone or man-zone, but the Knicks shooting seems likely to bust up a zone quickly.

The other alternative would be for Chicago to go small to match up against the Knicks and just put Deng at PF. They won't start the game that way, but I'll be surprised if it doesn't end that way.

Taj Gibson (who says he will play) could be a nice look to throw at 'Melo tonight, and we know that Jimmy Butler has shown to be an Anthony-stopper in the past.

On the injury front for the Knicks, Steve Novak missed their last game with the flu but is returning tonight. Rasheed Wallace is more likely out. Marcus Camby has been out a while. Got most of that from the fantastic Knicks blog Posting and Toasting.

[aside: there are actually quite a bit of good Knicks blogs out there: my oldest blog-friend Knickerblogger, Knicks Journal, The Knicks Wall, and Meloship of the Ring]

The Bulls did beat these same Knicks just a couple weeks ago in what has been the start of a very impressive stretch against quality opposition. However the Knicks were on the road and didn't have Anthony. Since that loss the Knicks have gone 5-1 (the loss was also without Melo) and are 11-1 at home this season.

[shoulda had more Hinrich shots...]

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