The Knicks lost a hard fought overtime game to the Bulls 118-111. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 36, but missed the game winning jumper in regulation. Nate Robinson led the Bulls with 35 points off the bench and did it in a very flamboyant fashion.
The Knicks rode a blazing hot start to a 30-23 first quarter lead. The Knicks hit their first six shots from the field to jump out to a 16-4 lead. Chris Copeland, Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert all hit three-pointers and Carmelo Anthony hit two elbow jumpers in that run. Pablo Prigioni’s three-pointer gave the Knicks a 23-6 lead and the Knicks hit their first four from downtown. The Bulls then went on a 13-2 run to cut the Knicks lead to 25-19. JR Smith’s three pointer with 34 seconds remaining in the quarter gave the Knicks the NBA single season record for most three-pointers as a team with 842. Chris Copeland did a very nice job on Carloz Boozer in the quarter, holding him to three point on 1-5 shooting, although he had help with double teams some of the time. Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with eight, but he only shot 4-12. However, he was big on the boards with seven rebounds.
The Bulls took the second quarter from the Knicks 31-29, but the Knicks led 59-54 at halftime. This quarter was marred by Joey Crawford feeling the need to have people make sure they know that he is officiating. Crawford and his crew called 14 fouls in the quarters and three technical fouls, including Anthony and Nate Robinson getting them seconds apart. The fouls really slowed down what had been a very nicely paced game. Felton and Copeland started the quarter with some good pick-and-rolls. Felton scored the first five points of the quarter for the Knicks. Copeland hit a three-pointer but missed some other good open looks and only finished the half shooting 2-8. Robinson burned the Knicks with 14 points in the quarter and he did a lot of talking as you might expect. The quarter was very chippy and physical, especially when Anthony got the ball in the post. He finished the half with 16 points on only 6-16 shooting, as he forced some shots that he has not been forcing of late. Smith scored nine in the quarter off of his patented step-back mid-range jumpers and drives to the basket. The Knicks held up fine on the boards for the half without their big men, only losing the rebounding battle 22-20. Also, they only had two turnovers and shot 6-9 from three-point range.
It was another tale of two halves of the quarter for the Knicks. They went up 79-64, but allowed the Bulls to 16-3 run to close out the quarter and the Knicks led 82-80. Copeland scored five points, Felton five and Anthony six to get the Knicks out to that lead. A turning point seemed to be when Chirs Copeland got his fourth foul with 6:30 remaining in the quarter. This forced the Knicks to play Anthony, Smith and Kidd in the front court and that was just to small. After that, turnovers by Felton and Prigioni gave Jimmy Butler easy transition layups that turned the momentum to the Bulls. Over the last four minutes of the quarter the Knicks scored five points on 2-9 shooting. They were still getting open shots, but they went cold. Meanwhile, Butler was killing the Knicks inside and Robinson outside.
A wild fourth quarter ended on an Anthony miss from the top of the key for the win, and the Knicks and Bulls went to overtime tied at 105. The Bulls opened up a 97-90 lead with 6:16 remaining off of a Robinson three. Robinson proceeded to celebrate like a clown by doing Steve Novak’s discount double check belt multiple times. As great as Robinson played in the game he really came off bad there. A Butler layup put the Bulls up nine and it looked like the game was over, but Anthony and Smith brought the Knicks back. Anthony took advantage of his strength advantage over Butler and made six free throws down the stretch and scored four points in the paint. Smith was fantastic down the stretch; his three-pointer with 2:36 remaining cut the lead to 103-99. Then, he made a beautiful pass down the baseline to Felton for an easy bucket to cut the lead to 103-101. After two Robinson free throws, Smith hit a turnaround jumper on the baseline to cut the Bulls lead to 105-103. After a terrible shot by Robinson, Anthony got the ball at the top of the key and drove the baseline and got a foul on Butler. After making both free throws to tie the game, Anthony played great defense on Luol Deng to force him to miss and the Knicks got the ball back with a little over a second remaining. Anthony got a great look at the top of the key, but the shot went off the side of the cylinder.
The Bulls blew the Knicks out in the overtime period 13-6 to win the game 118-111. The overtime started off with a huge scare for the Knicks, as Felton landed awkwardly and he laid on the ground in pain holding his knee. Fortunately, he was able to walk it off and he did not have to come out of the game. However, on the ensuing possession Robinson blew right by him for an and-one layup and the rout was on. The Knicks, only playing eight players, just did not have enough stamina renaming to be able to compete in the overtime. Anthony answered with a bucket, but Deng hit a three-pointer to put the Bulls up 111-107. The Knicks missed their next five shots, which put their nail in the coffin. The Knicks were still only down 111-107 with about two minutes remaining, but Smith was given a technical foul after a getting a loose ball foul on Butler. I don’t know how Smith got the technical, since the whole Bulls team was complaining about the call on Butler, but that is Joey Crawford for you. Robinson made the technical and scored on the next possession to ice the game.
- For the purpose of the standings this loss is not bad at all. The win for the Bulls keeps them as the five seed and if they stay there it essentially ensures the Knicks of not seeing them in the playoffs. Also, if the Knicks drop to the 3 seed and play Atlanta it certainly would not be the end of the world.
- While the loss is not a big deal overall, Robinson’s antics made that loss hurt. Some things never change I suppose. Really, who picks a fight with Steve Novak off all players?
- Anthony (19 rebounds) and Smith (14) should be applauded for their efforts on the boards. And outstanding effort without the big men.
- With Felton playing 49 minutes, Anthony 45, and Smith 42 I would not mind them getting significant rest vs. Cleveland tomorrow. The minutes clearly hurt Felton, as he had a terrible second half after a very good first half.
- After starting our 4-5 from three, the Knicks only finished 10-30. The Bulls did a great job in their defensive rotations to cover the would be open shooters.
- With all the minutes they were playing it was a great effort from the Knicks to force OT. Chicago’s physical play did not fluster them enough to make them quit. Unfortunately, when Anthony missed the game winning jumper you had a feeling like the Knicks missed their chance.
- Tough loss, but a little wake up call never hurt anybody and it was a good effort undermanned. Should be able to get back in the win column in Cleveland tomorrow.