To celebrate Halloween, the Chicago Bulls hosted the New York Knicks for their home opener. It certainly was a celebration for the Bulls, as they prevailed in the end with an 82-81 victory.
It was questionable whether Derrick Rose would be playing against New York since he had a sore neck, but the former MVP went out there and played with Kinesio tape on his neck.
Unlike their season opener, the Bulls made sure to attack the paint and be aggressive early on. Chicago did well converting their defense into offense by scoring in transition. In fact, the Bulls were able to get out to an early lead because of six straight made layups. Joakim Noah set up Luol Deng for two straight layups. Butler followed up with one of his own while Rose scored two of his own afterwards.
It didn’t take long for the Knicks to catch up though. After taking the first timeout of the game, New York was able to cut the deficit to one point and prevent Chicago from scoring for a little over three minutes, but this didn’t last long. The Bulls got back out to a double digit lead, and it continued into the second quarter; however, New York did make another run towards the conclusion on the first half. As a result, Chicago’s lead, which had previously been as many as 10 points, was cut in half to become 43-38.
Despite the slimmer halftime lead, the Bulls did a great job of scoring in the paint. Of their 43 points, 34 of them came from scoring in the paint. The Knicks, on the other hand, only had 14 points in the paint for the first half. According to ESPN, Chicago’s 20-point advantage in the paint was more than they had over any team last season. With the success in the paint, the Bulls’ eight turnovers didn’t seem to have as much of an impact as one may think.
While Chicago was thriving in the paint, they were ice cold from behind the arc, going 0-6 in the first two quarters. This changed quickly once the third period began, though. The Knicks got on the board first in the second half, but the Bulls struck back with two straight three-pointers from the top of the key by Derrick Rose. A buzzer-beating three from Deng also gave them their biggest lead of the game, 64-51.
From there, it looked as if the Bulls would be able to slide past the Knicks for their first win of the season, but of course, Carmelo Anthony and his fellow teammates were not going to allow that. Near midway through the final quarter, the game was tied at 78, and it remained close until the game came to an end.
Tyson Chandler made one of two free throws to give the Knicks an 81-80 advantage with 10.8 seconds left. Chicago called a timeout, and then responded with a tough baseline floater from Rose. The Bulls took back the lead, 82-81. Anthony failed to connect on a left-wing three-pointer, and Chandler failed to finish on the putback giving Chicago their first win of the year.
Rose led his team in scoring with 18 points despite going seven-for-23 from the field. He also added three assists and six rebounds. Deng contributed 17 points, three rebounds, and six assists. Noah and Butler rebounded in double digits with 11 and 10 rebounds respectively.
The Bulls’ next game will be this upcoming Saturday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. central. They will be visiting the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.