With the Knicks' 13-game winning streak on the line, could Carmelo Anthony jump center Thursday night in Chicago?
Knicks coach Mike Woodson is going to have to think way outside of the box when his team, minus any true big men, takes on the Chicago Bulls, a team the Knicks have yet to beat in three meetings this season.
Shortly before getting on the plane to Chicago Wednesday, the team announced that center Tyson Chandler and power forward Kenyon Martin will sit out Thursday night's game. Chandler, who has a sore neck, missed Tuesday's division-clinching win against the Washington Wizards. Martin, who started at center, suffered what Woodson called a "severe ankle sprain" in the fourth quarter of the game.
Though no announcement has been made about the players' status beyond Thursday night's game, Chandler and Martin did not make the trip to Chicago, so it seems likely they will also miss Friday night's game at Cleveland. It also seems likely, given their short-handed situation, that the Knicks are looking to add a big man to their roster.
According to sources, the Knicks will sign 6-8 forward James Singleton, who has played for the Clippers, Mavericks, Wizards and numerous teams overseas. The Knicks would have to waive someone to make room for Singleton. Kurt Thomas is an option since he's out with a stress fracture in his right foot and is on an expiring deal.
Three other Knicks big men -- Amar'e Stoudemire (knee), Rasheed Wallace (foot) and Kurt Thomas (foot) -- are not expected to play again in the regular season. And Marcus Camby, who hasn't played since March 29, is doubtful with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. "It seems like once we get healthy, we lose a guy," point guard Jason Kidd said. "We are pretty healthy between the range of six-feet to six-eight."
Even though the Bulls are missing a major piece in Derrick Rose, they are a tough matchup for the height-challenged Knicks. The Knicks' tallest healthy player is 6-10 Steve Novak, who is an outside shooting specialist. That leaves rookie Chris Copeland and Anthony to play extensively on the front line against a very physical team.
"They're a tough matchup, not only for us, but for a lot of teams in this league," Woodson said on Tuesday. "So it won't be an easy game going into Chicago."
The Knicks (51-26) are on a 13-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the NBA and the third-longest winning streak in franchise history. That, of course, means nothing to the Bulls, who ended Miami's wining streak at 27 games in late March. The Bulls (42-35) went into last night's play as the No. 5 seed in the East.
With Al Iannazzone