Though they've struggled on the road all season, a trip may be just what the New York Knicks need right now.
The Knicks will be trying to snap a four-game losing streak when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.
New York (6-15) has played its last three games at home and following this brief road swing will return to Madison Square Garden for a three-game homestand. The Knicks are just 1-8 on the road this season, but the quick trip to the United Center also will give them a night off from their increasingly frustrated fans.
Coach Isiah Thomas has been the target of much of their booing, and a season-ticket holder told reporters he was lecturing fans near the bench for not being supportive enough during Monday's 99-89 loss to Dallas.
Still, the Knicks haven't been doing much lately to win over their fans.
Including Wednesday's 117-110 loss to Seattle, New York is averaging just 91.5 points and has been outscored by an average of 14 points during its losing streak. They are just a half-game ahead of Miami for the worst record in the Eastern Conference.
"Right now we're not playing good basketball and we're not a good team right now," Thomas said. "We definitely have to get better.
"The gritty plays, the nasty plays that you needed, the fight that you needed, the heart that you needed, just the will that you needed to have out on the floor to be thirsty enough to win a game, that thirst wasn't there for us tonight."
However, Chicago could be a difficult place for New York to end its losing streak. The Knicks have dropped six straight and 11 of 12 road games against the Bulls (7-13).
New York beat Chicago 85-78 on Nov. 24 in the first meeting this season, with Stephon Marbury scoring 19 points and helping hold the Bulls' Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich to 24 combined. However, Marbury has missed the Knicks' last two games following the death of his father and is expected to also sit out the next two.
Jamal Crawford scored 29 points, and Zach Randolph added 27 and 16 rebounds for the Knicks on Wednesday. Swingman Quentin Richardson had just six points in less than 13 minutes and sat out the second half because of a strained tendon in his right knee.
"Didn't get it done," forward David Lee said. "We were with them the whole game, we weren't playing catch-up for once and they were able to make a few more plays at the end. The frustration's just growing for us."
Chicago has won five of its last eight, but lost 117-102 in Indiana on Wednesday and remain in last place in the Central Division. Gordon had 18 points for the Bulls, who allowed a season-high in points.
"We didn't have enough energy to get the stops when we needed them," Gordon said. "I guess we got what we put in tonight."
Tyrus Thomas was ejected following an altercation with Troy Murphy, and Bulls coach Scott Skiles said he wouldn't be surprised if Thomas received a suspension.
Thomas, the fourth overall pick in last season's draft, is averaging 6.6 points in less than 19 minutes per game this season.
Copyright 2007 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited