Dawning the NBA’s best home record at 11-1, the New York Knicks (19-6) took on the Chicago Bulls (14-10) tonight. The Bulls, coming off a strong offensive performance against the Boston Celtics carried that momentum over this evening. As far as the injury report goes, both Taj Gibson and Carmelo Anthony reported feeling sore, but still went on to play while Rasheed Wallace missed his fifth straight game in a row tending to a sore left foot. Final Score: 110-106 for Chicago.
Here’s how it happened:
Chicago came out of the gate running, going on a 14-2 run spurred by two Kirk Hinrich threes and ferocious defense. Eventually the Knicks caught up with a couple three-pointers of their own, including a J.R. Smith buzzer-beater. He would finish the game with a season-high 26 points. Still, the Bulls came out ahead in the first quarter, just two points shy of their season-high in first quarter points with 30 while New York lagged behind at 23.
The second quarter saw some more of JR Smith’s ridiculous occasional shot-making prowess, courtesy of Jimmy Butler getting destroyed by former-Bull Kurt Thomas’ screens. Butler is a sound defender, and if there’s one weak point in his game on that side of the ball, it’s his ability to get around screens.
He made up for his shortcomings there by giving Carmelo Anthony, who finished the game with 29 points off 10-25 shooting, a hard time in the second quarter. It was a half full of runs but Chicago came out ahead thanks to a 31-20 disparity in rebounding.
It was 54-39 going into the half as New York was shooting under 35%.
The second half saw a plethora of technical fouls and ejections, starting with Carmelo Anthony, who picked up his 2nd technical after fouling Joakim Noah. I can’t say I blame Melo. We may not hear about it often, but the all-star is one of the most disrespected superstars in the league in terms of officiating.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson was thrown out of the game and shortly after, Joakim Noah and Tyson Chandler got into a pushing shove which resulted in both of their ejections.
Earlier in the quarter, J.R. Smith fouled out after shoving Jimmy Butler. The Madison Square Garden, clearly frustrated with the referee’s, with the help of Jason Kidd fuelled a pseudo-comeback. Fortunately for Chicago, it was too little too late, despite the fact that the Knicks kept fighting until the clock hit zero.
While the Bulls had a tougher go starting on this season, they’re starting to regain their identity as a tough-nosed, defensive team. As they climb up the standings, Derrick Rose gets nearer and nearer to returning. Things are finally looking up in Chicago.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow night as the Chicago Bulls take on the Atlanta Hawks on the road.