Bulls have stuff to end Knicks' streak

Kirk Hinrich and the Bulls have clawed their way to three wins over the Knicks this season. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- Despite playing some inconsistent basketball of late, the Chicago Bulls won’t lack for confidence when they face the streaking New York Knicks on Thursday at the United Center.

Sure the Knicks are on a 13-game winning streak, but the Bulls have already shown they know what it takes to undercut a team on a roll. Not only that, the Bulls seemingly have the Knicks’ number this season, having already defeated them three times.

Yet after a 101-98 defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, there was no trash talk or swagger coming from the Bulls’ locker room.

“They’re a dangerous team,” guard Nate Robinson said of the Knicks. “It’s tough beating a team three times, and four times is really, really tough. They have it going right now and are feeling really good about themselves, which they should. They’re a hell of a team. We have our hands full. We have to go back to school, do our homework and be ready.”

Just more than two weeks ago, the Bulls played without many of their key players and still ended the 27-game winning streak of the Miami Heat, which stands as the second longest in NBA history. But since that victory, the Bulls have lost four of their past seven games.

Can they apply the same formula of bruising basketball they used against the Heat to knock off another hot team?

“We just have to play hard,” Robinson said. “I don’t know if we have the formula of beating a hot team. We just have to play hard and hopefully the basketball gods are with us.”

Youngster Jimmy Butler, who played all 48 minutes in Tuesday’s defeat, certainly was not about to provide the Knicks with bulletin-board material.

“It’s all about moving on to the next one, I guess you can say,” Butler said. “You have to figure out the matchups and be better than the guy you’re guarding.”