KNICKS AT BULLS, 8 P.M. ET

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  • Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony declared himself out of Saturday’s game against the Bulls due to the left hand injury he suffered against the Bobcats earlier this week. It is the second game he has missed. He warmed up at the United Center and said catching the ball is the difficulty. Kurt Thomas will start again for Anthony. That means three of the Knicks starters are former Bulls: Thomas, Tyson Chandler and Ronnie Brewer.
  • How tough is Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau? Following Joakim Noah‘s career night of 30 points and 23 rebounds against Detroit Friday (both career highs), Thibodeau said it’s up to Noah to do it again. “He just has to come in and be consistent, do his job,” Thibodeau said Saturday prior to the Bulls-Knicks game at the United Center. “Just be consistent. Come back the next night and do it again. Just keep going. Play hard every play.” Thibodeau finally did work his way around to complimenting Noah for his performance. “He did all the things that were necessary and needed in that game. We were flat and he gave us great energy, multiple effort. He scored, played great defense, was a leader. But he has to do it every night.”
  •   When Noah was drafted by the Bulls ninth overall in the 2007 NBA draft, New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson was coach of the Atlanta Hawks, who drafted Noah’s Florida teammate Al Horford with the third pick in that draft. Woodson said he has had his eye on Noah ever since. “Coming out of college, him and Al Horford were the biggest skill guys coming out.  I have always liked him. He plays with a lot of energy, is a great rebounder and now he has figured out how to score a little bit. Now he has the complete package.”
  • The challenge for the Bulls Saturday was to try to get their first three-game winning streak of the season against a very good New York Knicks team. It will not help that they expended so much energy in beating Detroit Friday, with Joakim Noah playing 43 minutes, Luol Deng playing 42 minutes, Marco Belinelli playing 40 and Carlos Boozer playing 39 minutes. Deng (40.9 minutes per game) and Noah (39.6) rank first and second in the league in minutes played per game.

Kent McDill

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