After the Chicago Bulls ended the Miami Heat’s 27-game winning streak a few weeks ago, there was much hype for the Bulls to do the same, but this time, it would be ending a 13-game winning streak by the New York Knicks. In the end, Chicago had the firepower to end the Knicks’ streak, 118-111.
While Luol Deng, after missing two-straight games due to a bruised hip, returned to a starting lineup of Kirk Hinrich, Marco Belinelli, Jimmy Butler, and Carlos Boozer, the Knicks were without big men Marcus Camby, Tyson Chandler, and Kenyon Martin.
New York got off to a hot start by going on an 11-2 run in about three minutes as Chicago started off with, yet again, a slow start offensively. The first timeout Coach Tom Thibodeau took was not of much help to either team, as they both picked up where they left off. But in the second half of the quarter, Chicago stepped up their game on both ends of the floor. They were getting stops on the defensive end and buckets on the offensive end. By the time the quarter came to a conclusion, the Bulls trailed 23-30.
The second quarter began with more of the same from the Knicks, who ensured they would maintain their lead through three-point shooting, but the tides soon turned. Coming out of a timeout, Carlos Boozer quickly scored on a layup, followed by a Knicks turnover, which lead to a finger roll from Nate Robinson. And suddenly, the Bulls only trailed 33-38 after going through another double digit deficit. Carmelo Anthony eventually made his way back onto the court, drew three-straight fouls, picked up a technical, and with the assistance of J.R. Smith, maintained the lead for New York despite offensive efforts from Deng and Robinson. The Bulls found themselves in a 54-59 deficit at halftime.
That five-point deficit quickly vanished when the third quarter opened. After two quick buckets by the Knicks, the deficit doubled. Following that, Chicago went through, what has seemed to be a trend for the Bulls lately, an offensive slump. But after an offensive surge from Butler, the Bulls were back in the game. Hinrich poked the ball away for a steal, which was picked up by Butler for a dunk on the fast break. Then, New York quickly turned the ball over as Butler was credited for a steal and another dunk. Including these plays, Chicago went on a 16-3 run to close the quarter trailing 80-82.
In the fourth quarter, the Bulls flourished on both ends of the court. They illustrated their focus through their lockdown defense and offensive tenacity. Everyone on the Bulls did their share of the effort to contribute to their lead, which became as large as nine points. But it seemed inevitable that Anthony would do his best to keep the Knicks in the game, and he did just that. Both teams were able to hang on long enough to force overtime due to a 105-105 tie.
Robinson brought his instant offense in the extra five minutes of play, scoring 8 of the Bulls’ 13 points. New York, on the other hand, was unable to connect on their threes like they had previously done as Chicago was came away with the win.
Butler had another phenomenal night, posting 22 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks. (Editor’s Note: Jimmy played 50 minutes and has thus played 98 minutes in the last two games combined.) Off the bench, Robinson added a team-high 35 points to go along with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block. For the Knicks, Anthony continued his efficient scoring with a game-high 36 points, but also added on 19 rebounds.
The Bulls are now 43-35, and they will be back on the hardwood tomorrow night, as they look to defeat the Toronto Raptors at 6 PM CT.