CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 12: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls lets out a scream after dunking the ball against the New York Knicks at the United Center on March 12, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Knicks 104-99. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Derrick Rose's potential return leads the storylines, but Carmelo Anthony's recent hot streak and a return home to Madison Square Garden could ruin Rose's return party Sunday afternoon.
The NBA's reigning MVP, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, has missed 12 consecutive games with a strained groin (which he hurt against the Knicks in their last meeting). Since then, the Bulls have gone 8-4, using stifling defense and league-leading offensive rebounding to compensate for the loss of their leading scorer and passer.
Rose went through a full practice Saturday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He said that whether or not he will play will be up to him:
"It's really not up to (head coach Tom Thibodeau). It's up to me," Rose said. "If I'm feeling good I'm going to play. If I feel I need some more days I'll take some more days. More than likely, I'll be out there."
The Knicks will have to wait a while longer to see two of their four best players return in Amare Stoudemire, who will likely miss another couple of weeks with a bulging disc in his back, and Jeremy Lin, who is out until at least the playoffs recovering from knee surgery. The offense now runs completely through Carmelo Anthony, and that hasn't been a bad thing so far.
They were leading big against the Pacers earlier in the week before collapsing and ultimately losing, but they pummeled the Magic on Thursday, hours after one of the most awkward interview sessions in history evidently divided the Orlando locker room. Anthony has been ice cold seemingly all season long, but he's been hitting shots recently, which means that the Knicks have a chance even if Rose plays.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, April 8, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.