In their second game in four nights, the Chicago Bulls traveled to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks. After trailing by as many as 23 points, the Bulls were unable to make a comeback sufficient enough, thus losing 83-78.
Joakim Noah returned to the starting lineup after missing Tuesday’s match-up against the Milwaukee Bucks. Luol Deng (Achilles) and Jimmy Butler (turf toe) remained inactive.
Chicago started off the game with two blocks from Mike Dunleavy and Noah, but this didn’t give the Bulls any sort of advantage. The Knicks went on a run that gave them the 9-2 lead. With 7:49 remaining in the first quarter, Kirk Hinrich dribbled up to the right hash mark and called a timeout.
The Bulls were able to catch up rather quickly following the break, but once the next period came along, New York turned things around. The Knicks found their shots through Amar’e Stoudemire and Tim Hardaway, Jr. At the same time, the bench had done just about nothing for Chicago. They found themselves scoreless for the quarter until the 5:43 mark, when Mike Dunleavy made a three-pointer. Tom Thibodeau had to go back to his starters just to get any sort of offense going.
Aside from the lack of bench production, the other aspect that tremendously hurt Chicago were turnovers. They already had 12 turnovers come halftime, and the Knicks took advantage of that with 15 points coming off those turnovers. This gave New York a 46-32 lead going into the third quarter.
It wasn’t until the end of the third that the Bulls started giving themselves an actual chance of winning. The Knicks led by as many as 23 points, but an 8-2 run by Chicago gave them momentum going into the last period of the game. They stepped up their defense, and even used a full court press, and got into a good offensive rhythm.
A bucket by Noah tied the game at 74 with 3:38 left in the game, but that was as close as the Bulls would get. Their offense broke down in the last minute and a half, and their possessions were useless.
Mike Dunleavy led the Bulls, now 8-12, in scoring for a second straight night with 20 points. Carlos Boozer and Noah each scored 12 points and posted a double-double with 12 and 11 rebounds, respectively.
Friday, Dec. 13 marks Chicago’s next game, as well as another back-to-back. They will travel to Wisconsin to take on the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m. central.