Falling in the fourth
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New York vs Chicago
101 - 108
Record: 15-43
Steve Francis - called for a foul during the 4th quarter (AP Photo)
Steve Francis - called for a foul during the 4th quarter (AP Photo)
NEW YORK (AP) - Even when the Chicago Bulls trailed by 16 points, Kirk Hinrich felt there was nothing to worry about.

"We know we had Madison Square Gordon, so we knew we were in the driver's seat," Hinrich said.

If only the home team had a player as clutch in the Garden.

Ben Gordon scored 32 points in another huge game against New York, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 31 seconds left, to help the Bulls rally to beat the NBA-worst Knicks 108-101 Friday night.

Hinrich added 33 points for the Bulls, who trailed by 16 in the third quarter before he and Gordon, from nearby Mount Vernon, brought Chicago back to hand the Knicks their sixth straight loss and 22nd in 24 games.

Gordon earned his nickname after a series of big games at Madison Square Garden. He set a tournament scoring record while leading Connecticut to the Big East title in 2004, then he hit a basket to beat the Knicks in New York on Jan. 17, 2005.

"It's home for me, so I find that I'm always able to dig deep down and muscle up some extra energy to come and play in the Garden," Gordon said.

Gordon averaged 30 points in the first two meetings this season, including the game-winning jumper at the overtime buzzer in Chicago's home victory in January. He admitted he enjoys beating his hometown team.

"I definitely do," he said. "It's just fun playing at home. It's always a good feeling when you hit a big shot or help your team win a game."

Steve Francis almost got that feeling. Instead, he remained winless since coming to the Knicks in a trade with Orlando on the day before the trade deadline.

Francis scored 18 points, but committed two huge turnovers and had a shot blocked in the final minute, bringing boos from the Madison Square Garden crowd.

"We had a lot of mental errors at the end of the game that kind of solidified the victory for them," Francis said. "On the other hand, we didn't get stops when we really needed to."

It was another low in an already wacky week for the team with the league's highest payroll and its worst record. New York was back home after an 0-3 road trip in which it never led in either of the first two games, saw coach Larry Brown briefly hospitalized in Memphis after some pains in his chest, and owner James Dolan reaffirm his confidence in the direction team president Isiah Thomas has the team going.

"You can't fault the effort. Guys are trying to win the game," Brown said. "But when you make mistakes during the guts of the game and you don't have time to overcome them, it magnifies the mistakes. We just had a horrendous fourth quarter and they had a great fourth quarter."

Quentin Richardson added 16 points, 13 in the third quarter when the Knicks (15-43) seemed to have control of the game. Stephon Marbury and Malik Rose each scored 15 points and Jalen Rose had 13.

Richardson, a disappointment in his first season in New York, sparked a 17-5 spurt to open the second half with three 3-pointers, the last one extending the Knicks' lead to 73-57 with 7:38 left in the third quarter.

The Bulls stayed in the game behind Gordon, who scored 13 points in the final 7 minutes of the period as Chicago pulled within 85-78 on Chris Duhon 's 3-pointer with 5.6 seconds remaining.

The Knicks were still up by eight after a steal and basket by Marbury with 5:41 to play, but Hinrich made a 3-pointer and scored on a drive to make it 97-94. The Bulls stayed close until Gordon brought them within two on a jumper with 1:22 to go, then he drained his 3-pointer less than a minute later to give them the lead.

Luol Deng followed Francis' turnover with two free throws, then Hinrich added a pair after Francis was called for an offensive foul. Deng finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds.

The Bulls led by three after the first quarter and pushed the lead to 42-34 midway through the second, but the Knicks rallied to take the lead after going small. New York played the closing minutes of the half with 6-foot-8 Jalen Rose as its tallest player.

With Marbury and Francis slicing through the defense to create easy shots, the Knicks scored the final five points of the half to take a 56-52 lead on Jalen Rose 's jumper at the buzzer.

The win helped the Bulls in more than just the standings. Chicago owns the Knicks' first-round pick in the draft from the trade that brought Eddy Curry to New York and would have the best chance at the No. 1 pick if the Knicks finish with the league's worst record. ... Knicks rookie Nate Robinson was inactive for the fifth straight game. He has played only once since winning the slam dunk competition at All-Star weekend. Maurice Taylor also was inactive with a sore left knee.

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