Knicks drop to Bulls 119-115 after another failed comeback
The New York Knicks failed once again to capitalize on a 21 point comeback and lost 119-115 to the Chicago Bulls last night at the Garden.
The 5-1 Knicks that rocked the league at the start of the season have slowly dismantled and from a top team in the East became a .500 team fighting for the 10th place in just one month.
On Thursday night they found themselves trailing 69-51 at halftime after shooting just 2-12 from behind the arc. Immanuel Quickley who started for RJ Barrett shot 1-5 from the field while Alec Burks in his third start since Kemba Walker‘s removal went 0-5. Burks, however, made all of his 8 free throw attempts from the first half.
And as if things weren’t already bad, tension between Evan Fournier and Julius Randle sparked on their way out in front of everyone.
“It was a disagreement over I think the last defensive play about the double team and the rebounding. It was just frustration. But I think the key was communicating. […] I would rather have that than not saying anything and hold grudges and stuff.”
– Evan Fournier
As the game advanced into the second half, things start moving again for the home team. The Knicks’ threes began to fall with Quickley and Fournier combining six made attempts in the third. They rallied on a 16-5 run early in the third quarter and made it a one point game with 5:12 left before the final act.
The battle continued in the fourth when the Knicks took their first lead of the game since the early minutes of the first quarter. They were finally up 106-105 with 4:45 left to play but were unable to keep the lead and although the score was still tied 111-111 with 1:25 to go, the Knicks were outscored 6-0 in the following 70 seconds.
Randle led the Knicks with 30 points, 12 rebound and 6 assists but missed a key free throw when the score was 111-110, then comitted a turnover that allowed the Bulls to go up 113-111 from the free throw line.
Burks and Fournier scored 16 points each, Quickley finished with 15 points in his first start of the season and Derrick Rose led the bench with 16 points and 6 dimes.
Just days after the Knicks complained about the referees during the loss in Brooklyn, things continued to go wrong. Taj Gibson was automatically ejected 4:14 in the first quarter with two technicals he earned after arguing with the refs who called him for an offensive foul. The Knicks were already short on big men as both Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims were out with injuries or illnesses.
“We started slowly. There was frustration. So it’s hard to play when you’re frustrated. So we can’t get wrapped up in that. Sometimes there’s tough calls that go against you and that’s just the way it is. That’s part of the league.”
– Tom Thibodeau
The Bulls were led by DeMarr DeRozan who scored a game high 34 points. Both Nikola Vucevic and Zach Lavine scored 27 and collected 7 rebounds each and no other Bull besides the three mentioned before scored in the fourth quarter.
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Up-next: The saga continues at the Garden on Saturday from 1:00pm when the Knicks (11-11) host the Nuggets (10-11).