W2W4: Knicks vs. Bulls

Here are a few things to keep an eye on during tonight’s Knicks-Bulls game:

Will Melo play? With the Knicks officially knocked out of the playoffs, it may be time for Carmelo Anthony to rest. Anthony has played for the last ten days with a right shoulder ailment. He said on Friday that he wanted to play through the pain as long as the Knicks were in playoff contention. New York was knocked out of contention on Saturday night following Atlanta’s win over Miami.

So Mike Woodson may decide to let his best player rest over the final three games of the season.

These could also be Anthony’s final three games as a Knick. The star forward has said that he plans to test free agency this summer. The Bulls, Rockets, Lakers and Clippers are expected to show interest in Anthony. For those who like parsing Anthony’s words, he recently heaped praise on Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

Was SCHOENE right? Many Knicks fans and writers (this one included) scoffed at ESPN.com’s prediction that the Knicks would win just 37 games this season. They were coming off of a 54-win season and their core players were on the way back. But thanks to injuries, poor play and some suspect coaching decisions the Knicks find themselves with 34 wins and three to play.

They’d need to win out to reach SCHOENE’s prediction. Also, as our buddy Chris Herring from the Wall Street Journal points out, the Knicks could be on the verge of making the wrong kind of history.

No NBA team has ever won 35 games or fewer a season after winning 50 or more and bringing back its coach and top five scorers. The Knicks need two wins to avoid setting that mark.

Youth Movement: If Woodson decides to sit his veterans, it will be interesting to see how young players such as Jeremy Tyler and Tour’e Murry respond to playing extended minutes. The Bulls, of course, present a difficult challenge for the Knicks, no matter who is on the floor. They’ve won 10 of 12 from New York, including a 109-90 victory on March 2 in which Joakim Noah had 13 points, a career-high 14 assists and 12 boards.

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