NBA schedule 2012: 2 of league's top defenses face each other as Knicks host Bulls

Al Bello

A battle of two of the Eastern Conference's top teams highlights Friday's NBA schedule.

No one knew the New York Knicks could play defense heading into the season. Everyone knew the Chicago Bulls could. As the season nears its midpoint, the two teams have asserted themselves as some of the league's very best units on the defensive end, and the Knicks will host the Bulls at 7:30 p.m. ET in what should be the best matchup on a busy night of basketball.

The Knicks have the best record in the East at 19-6. They are giving up just 96 points per game this season, led by Carmelo Anthony (28.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game), Tyson Chandler (13 points and 10 rebounds per game) and a cast of experienced veterans.

The Bulls are 14-10 and leading the Central Division despite, once again, dealing with an array of injuries, notably to the team's starting backcourt. Derrick Rose hasn't played this season while recovering from a major knee injury and Richard Hamilton is currently out with an injury as well. The Bulls give up the second fewest points per game of any team in the league.

Other top teams in action Friday include the San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers. See the full Friday schedule here.

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